Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2005. 83:2033–2042.


Genetic parameters for stayability to six ages (ST1, . . ., ST6), for five measures of stayability to calving (SC2, . . ., SC6), and for five measures of stayability to weaning (SW2, . . ., SW6), were estimated using records of 2,019 Hereford cows collected from 1964 to 1979 from a selection experiment with a control line and three lines selected for weaning weight, yearling weight, and an index of yearling weight and muscle score. The model included birth year of the cow as a fixed effect and the cow’s sire as a random effect. Analyses were performed with 1) a generalized linear mixed model for binary data using a probit link with a penalized quasi-likelihood function, and 2) with a linear mixed model using REML. Genetic trends were estimated by regressing weighted means of estimated transmitting abilities (ETA) of sires by birth year of their daughters on birth year. Environmental trends were estimated by regressing solutions for year of birth on birth year. Estimates of heritability (SE) for ST were between 0.09 (0.08) and 0.30 (0.14) for threshold model and between 0.05 (0.04) and 0.19 (0.09) for linear model. Estimates of heritability from linear model analyses transformed to an underlying normal scale were between 0.09 and 0.35. Estimates of heritability (SE) for SC were between 0.29 (0.10) and 0.39 (0.11) and between 0.18 (0.09) and 0.25 (0.08) with threshold and linear models. Estimates of heritability transformed to an underlying normal scale were between 0.30 and 0.40. Estimates of heritability (SE) for SW were between 0.21 (0.14) and 0.47 (0.19) and between 0.12 (0.08) and 0.26 (0.12) with threshold and linear models, respectively. Estimates of heritability transformed to an underlying normal scale were between 0.21 and 0.50. Estimates of genetic and environmental trends for all lines were nearly zero for all traits. Correlations between ETA of sires for stayability to specific ages, for stayability to calving, and for stayability to weaning with threshold and linear models ranged from 0.09 to 0.82, from 0.68 to 0.90, and from 0.67 to 0.87, respectively. Selection for stayability would be possible in a breeding program and could be relatively effective as a result of the moderate estimates of heritability, which would allow selection of sires whose daughters are more likely to remain longer in the herd. Selection for weaning and yearling weights resulted in little correlated response for any of the measures of stayability.