Genetic parameters for milk somatic cell score and relationships with production traits in primiparous dairy sheep

V. Riggio*, R. Finocchiaro, J. B. C. H. M. van Kaam, B. Portolano, H. Bovenhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A total of 13,066 first-lactation test-day records of 2,277 Valle del Belice ewes from 17 flocks were used to estimate genetic parameters for somatic cell scores (SCS) and milk production traits, using a repeatability test-day animal model. Heritability estimates were low and ranged from 0.09 to 0.14 for milk, fat, and protein yields, and contents. For SCS, the heritability of 0.14 was relatively high. The repeatabilities were moderate and ranged from 0.29 to 0.47 for milk production traits. The repeatability for SCS was 0.36. Flock-test-day explained a large proportion of the variation for milk production traits, but it did not have a big effect on SCS. The genetic correlations of fat and protein yields with fat and protein percentages were positive and high, indicating a strong association between these traits. The genetic correlations of milk production traits with SCS were positive and ranged from 0.16 to 0.31. The results showed that SCS is a heritable trait in Valle del Belice sheep and that single-trait selection for increased milk production will also increase SCS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1998-2003
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume90
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007

Keywords

  • somatic cell count
  • milk production
  • genetic parameter
  • dairy sheep
  • MASTITIS RESISTANCE
  • PROTEIN PERCENTAGE
  • LACTATION CURVES
  • ANIMAL-MODEL
  • EWES
  • YIELDS
  • COUNT
  • FAT
  • HERITABILITY
  • SELECTION

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