Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 1996


Published in Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 79, No. 1, 1996.


The animal model for genetic evaluations of dairy cattle by the USDA currently includes a term for interaction effects of sire and herd. The relative magnitude of the variance of that effect was established in the 1960s as 14% of the total variance, but recent research has shown that the proportion is 2% or less. This report compared EBV using either the 14% or the actual estimate from 20 samples of records from herds in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. From 6 to 22% of bulls or cows selected for milk and fat yields based on evaluation with 14% of the total variance would not be selected using the sample estimates, depending on selection intensity, region, and whether only first or up to three lactations were used in the evaluations. Nevertheless, the average EBV of the bulls and cows selected based on 14% of the total variance were only slightly less than for those selected on 2%. This pilot research suggests that further study of the national data be done to establish the appropriate proportion of variance from interaction effects of sire and herd to use with national evaluations. Kinds of evaluations of bulls and ages of cows and bulls should be considered.