Lactation persistency for Holstein cows raised in the State of Rio Grande do Sul using a random regression model

There were used 21,702 test day milk yields from 2,429 first parity Holstein breed cows, daughters of 2,031 dams and 233 sires, distributed over 33 herds in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, from 1992 to 2003. Genetic parameters for three measures of lactation persistency (PS1, PS2 e PS3) and for milk production to 305 days (P305) were evaluated. A random regression model adjusted by fourth order Legendre polynomial was used. The random regression model adjusted to test day between the sixth and the 305th lactation day included the herd-year-season of the test day, the age of the cow at the parturition effects and the order fourth Legendre polinomial parameters, for modeling the milk production average curve of the population, and parameters of the same polinomial for modeling the random additive genetic and permanent environmental effects. The estimated heritabilities were 0.05, 0.08 and 0.19, respectively to PS1, PS2 and PS3, and 0.25 to P305, suggesting the possibility of a genetic gain by selection for PS3 and P305. The genetic correlations between persistency measurements and P305 ranged from -0.05 to 0.07, suggesting being, persistency and milk yield, characteristics determined by different gene groups, and that the selection for P305, usually done, do not promote genetic progress for persistency.

genetic correlations; heritability; Legendre polynomial; REML method; selection test day

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