Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

August 1988


Published in Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 72, No. 1, 1989. Copyright 1989. Used by permission.


Information from 7712 lactations of Holstein dairy cows was collected from 33 commercial herds around Ithaca, NY in the 3 yr from 1981 to 1983. The data were divided into subsets corresponding to lactation 1, lactation 2, and lactation 3 or greater. To estimate heritabilities of dystocia, retained placenta, metritis, ovarian cysts, milk fever, and mastitis, a mixed linear model (herd-year fixed and sire random effects) with 0 or 1 as the observed response was used. Variance components were estimated using Henderson's Method 3. The results show moderate heritabilities (.15 to .40) for dystocia, metritis, milk fever, and mastiffs and low heritability (less than .12) for retained placenta and cystic ovaries. Genetic correlations between dystocia, retained placenta, metritis, and mastitis were moderate in size and positive, whereas cystic ovaries were correlated negatively with dystocia and retained placenta. A general reproductive health trait (dystocia, retained placenta, metritis, cystic ovaries, and milk fever combined in one trait) also was analyzed. The estimated heritability of this trait was .21, .11, and .00 for first calf heifers, second lactation cows, and older cows, respectively.