Evaluation of body condition score measured throughout lactation as an indicator of fertility in dairy cattle

G Banos*, S Brotherstone, MP Coffey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Body condition score (BCS) records of primiparous Holstein cows were analyzed both as a single measure per animal and as repeated measures per sire of cow. The former resulted in a single, average, genetic evaluation for each sire, and the latter resulted in separate genetic evaluations per day of lactation. Repeated measure analysis yielded genetic correlations of less than unity between days of lactation, suggesting that BCS may not be the same trait across lactation. Differences between daily genetic evaluations on d 10 or 30 and subsequent daily evaluations were used to assess BCS change at different stages of lactation. Genetic evaluations for BCS level or change were used to estimate genetic correlations between BCS measures and fertility traits in order to assess the capacity of BCS to predict fertility. Genetic correlation estimates with calving interval and non-return rate were consistently higher for daily BCS than single measure BCS evaluations, but results were not always statistically different. Genetic correlations between BCS change and fertility traits were not significantly different from zero. The product of the accuracy of BCS evaluations with their genetic correlation with the UK fertility index, comprising calving interval and non-return rate, was consistently higher for daily than for single BCS evaluations, by 28 to 53%. This product is associated with the conceptual correlated response in fertility from BCS selection and was highest for early (d 10 to 75) evaluations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2669-2676
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume87
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

Keywords

  • body condition change
  • HEALTH
  • LINEAR TYPE TRAITS
  • YIELD
  • RANDOM REGRESSION
  • MILK-PRODUCTION
  • ENERGY-BALANCE PROFILES
  • WEIGHT
  • REPRODUCTIVE-PERFORMANCE
  • body condition score
  • COWS
  • random regression
  • fertility index
  • GENETIC-PARAMETERS

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