Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in Genetics and Molecular Research 6 (2): 434-444 (2007).


Genetic parameters were estimated with restricted maximum likelihood for individual test-day milk, fat and protein yields and somatic cell scores with a random regression cubic spline model. Test-day records of Holstein cows that calved from 1994 through early 1999 were obtained from Dairy Records Management Systems in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the analysis. Estimates of heritability for individual test-days and estimates of genetic and phenotypic correlations between test-days were obtained from estimates of variances and covariances from the cubic spline analysis. Estimates were calculated of genetic parameters for the averages of the test days within each of the ten 30-day test intervals. The model included herd test-day, age at first calving, and bovine somatropin treatment as fixed factors. Cubic splines were fitted for the overall lactation curve and for random additive genetic and permanent environmental effects, with five predetermined knots or four intervals between days 0, 50, 135, 220, and 305. Estimates of heritability for lactation one ranged form 0.10 to 0.15, 0.06 to 0.10, 0.09 to 0.15, and 0.02 to 0.06 for test-day one to test-day 10 for milk, fat and protein yields and somatic cell scores, respectively. Estimates of heritability increased over the course of the lactation. Estimates of genetic and phenotypic correlations were smaller for test-days further apart.