Milk production and food intake records were available on individual animals from a high-yielding Holstein-Friesian herd in which selection had been practised on fat plus protein yield using nationally available artificial insemination sires. The relationship between sires and maternal grandsires' transmitting ability (ICC), expressed as a pedigree index (sire ICC + 0·5 maternal grandsire ICC), and offspring performance for milk production traits, food intake, and gross efficiency (milk energy (MJ)/total energy intake (MJ)) was investigated. The data comprised 475 26-week (data set 1) and 293 38-week (data set 2, a subset of 1) records, and for each data set analyses were conducted on heifers, cows and pooled lactations. Regressions of fat plus protein yield, fat yield, protein yield, and milk yield on their corresponding pedigree index were not far from the theoretical expectation (for a full lactation) of 1, for heifers (0·71 (s.e. 0·20), 0·72 (s.e. 0·20), 0·74 (s.e. 0·21) and 0·75 (s.e. 0·19), respectively), but slightly lower for the pooled lactations (0·57 (s.e. 0·20), 0·55 (s.e. 0·20), 0·67 (s.e. 0·19) and 0·64 (s.e. 0·15)) in data set 1. Regressions of fat plus protein yield, food intake and gross efficiency on pedigree index for fat plus protein yield, each trait expressed as a ratio of herd mean, were 1·31 (s.e. 0·37), 0·38 (s.e. 0·19) and 1·04 (s.e. 0·35) for heifers and 0·89 (s.e. 0·31), 0·48 (s.e. 0·18) and 0·59 (s.e. 0·26) respectively, for pooled lactations, in data set 1. Regressions for cow lactations were lower. Similar results were obtained with data set 2. In this study, a genetic increase of proportionately 0·1 in fat plus protein yield of daughters of sires of high genetic merit for fat plus protein yield, was accompanied by a proportional genetic increase of 0·029 in food intake and a 0·079 proportional genetic increase in efficiency.
- dairy cows
- food conversion
- food intake
- improved contemporary comparison
- milk production