Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 1988


Published in Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 72, No. 9, 1989. Copyright 1989. Used by permission.


Records of AI-sired cows born between 1978 and 1982 were used to form two composite production and reproduction data sets. First (second) consisted of 35,568 (26,443) first lactations of daughters of 270 (237) sires. Traits were FCM, heifer, and first parity nonreturn rates, days between calving and first insemination, and days open, with means 5075 (5280) kg, .62 (.62), .44 (.49), 81 (81) d and 110 (111) d. (Co)variance components were estimated by REML with an expectation maximization algorithm. Sire model included age, month, herd-year effects, and relationships among sires. Records on animals with observations missing on some traits were included. Estimates of heritabilities, averaged over data sets, were nonreturn rates for heifers and for cows, .02; FCM, .32; days to first insemination, .19; and days open, .10. Genetic correlations between first parity fertility and yield were unfavorable; the highest, .43, was between FCM and days open. Heifer nonreturn rate had a .09 correlation with production and a .26 correlation with cow nonreturn rate. Phenotypic correlations were in the same direction as genetic correlations but were smaller in magnitude. Results suggest that selection only for production would cause deterioration in level of fertility. When economical, AI sires should be evaluated for daughter fertility. A multi-trait model including milk production, days open and relationships among bulls is recommended for genetic evaluation.