Factors affecting length of herdlife in purebred and crossbred dairy cattle

Paul M Hocking, A J McAllister, MS Wolynetz, TR Batra, A. J. Lee, C Y Lin, GL Roy, JA Vesely, JM Wauthy, KA Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The proportional hazards model with censoring was used to assess the effects of breeding value, disease, calving, size, and udder and lactation traits on length of herdlife of 3881 heifers in five herds. Data were recorded over 10 yr from three lines: a Holstein line, an Ayrshire-based line, and a crossbred line. Influences on survival were assessed from data collected at birth, 34, 50, and 82 wk, first freshening, and at 112 and 308 d postpartum. Median estimated herdlife (age at 50% culling) was 3.9 yr for animals alive at first freshening and increased to 4.3 yr for those that completed a first lactation (308 d postpartum). Herds differed greatly in the pattern of culling after freshening. Crossbred females had 21 wk longer median estimated herdlife than the mean of the purelines at 308 d postpartum. Individual milk yield was positively associated with longevity and had the greatest impact on length of herdlife. Abortion and fertility measured as days to last insemination were negatively associated with length of herdlife. Large heifers tended to have increased longevity. High feed intake postpartum was associated with reduced length of herdlife. Objective measures of conformation, which included measurements of the udder, were not important in determining herdlife
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-24
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1988

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Female
  • Longevity
  • Models, Biological


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