Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

February 2002


Published in Livestock Production Science 74 (2002) 185–190.


The objective of this work was to estimate genetic parameters for the Italian population of river buffaloes. Lactation records (10,663) for milk, fat, protein and mozzarella cheese production of river buffalo cows were analyzed by fitting a multiple trait animal model using restricted maximum likelihood. The number of cows with records was 3873 with 6842 animals in the relationship matrix. mozzarella cheese production per lactation was computed by considering milk yield, and fat and protein percentages. The average lactational yields of milk, fat, protein and calculated mozzarella (kg) and fat and protein percentages were 2286.8±492.1, 196.9±45.6, 104.7±21.7, 589.1±125.4, 8.59±0.85 and 4.55±0.28, respectively. Heritability estimates for milk, fat, protein and mozzarella yields and fat and protein percentages were 0.14, 0.11, 0.14, 0.13, 0.17 and 0.10, respectively. Though estimates of heritability are lower than for the same traits in dairy cattle, estimates of phenotypic and genetic correlations between all traits show the possibility of developing a selection scheme to improve characteristics of milk for production of mozzarella cheese, the most important product of Italian buffaloes.