Estimation of genetic and phenotypic parameters for bacteriological status of the udder, somatic cell score, and milk yield in dairy sheep using a threshold animal model

M. Tolone*, V. Riggio, B. Portolano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The objective of this study was to estimate the genetic parameters for infection status (INF), as indicator of mastitis, SCS (i.e., log-transformed SCC), and milk yield (MY), by using a Gibbs sampling algorithm. The data comprised 17,843 test-day records of 2040 ewes. The pedigree file included 2948 animals. A bivariate variance component analysis was performed using the TM software. Fixed effects considered in the analysis were litter size, parity, flock by test-day interaction, year by season of lambing interaction, and stage of lactation; whereas the animal, and the permanent environmental effect within and across lactations were considered as random as well as the error. Flat priors were used for both fixed effects and variance components. Parameters were drawn from the posterior conditional distributions. The posterior means of heritability for MY, SCS and INF were equal to 0.14, 0.09, and 0.09, respectively; whereas the repeatability within lactation was around 0.30 for the three traits, and ranged between 0.29 and 0.41 across lactations. The genetic correlation between INF and SCS was equal to 0.93, suggesting that selection for low SCS would also lead to a reduced incidence of mastitis. On the other hand, the positive and moderate genetic correlation between mastitis and milk yield (0.59) confirms the antagonistic association between udder health and milk yield. Therefore, in breeding programs that emphasize milk yield, the unfavorable genetic correlation between milk yield and mastitis, may result in an increased incidence of the latter. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-139
Number of pages6
JournalLivestock Science
Volume151
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Keywords

  • Infection status
  • Somatic cell score
  • Milk yield
  • Sheep
  • Threshold model
  • CLINICAL MASTITIS
  • 1ST-LACTATION COWS
  • PROTEIN PERCENTAGE
  • BAYESIAN-ANALYSIS
  • PRODUCTION TRAITS
  • NORWEGIAN CATTLE
  • HOLSTEIN COWS
  • COUNT
  • EWES
  • INFECTION

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