Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

May 1999


Published in J. Anim. Sci. 1999. 77:3176–3184.


Weaning weights from nine sets of Angus field data from three regions of the United States were analyzed. Six animal models were used to compare two approaches to account for an environmental dam-offspring covariance and to investigate the effects of sire × herd-year interaction on the genetic parameters. Model 1 included random direct and maternal genetic, maternal permanent environmental, and residual effects. Age at weaning was a covariate. Other fixed effects were age of dam and a herd-year-management-sex combination. Possible influence of a dam’s phenotype on her daughter’s maternal ability was modeled by including a regression on maternal phenotype (fm) (Model 3) or by fitting grandmaternal genetic and grandmaternal permanent environmental effects (Model 5). Models 2, 4, and 6 were based on Models 1, 3, and 5, respectively, and additionally included sire × herd-year (SH) interaction effects. With Model 3, estimates of fm ranged from −.003 to .014, and (co)variance estimates were similar to those from Model 1. With Model 5, grandmaternal heritability estimates ranged from .02 to .07. Estimates of maternal heritability and direct-maternal correlation (ram) increased compared with Model 1. With models including SH, estimates of the fraction of phenotypic variance due to SH interaction effects were from .02 to .10. Estimates of direct and maternal heritability were smaller and estimates of ram were greater than with models without SH interaction effects. Likelihood values showed that SH interaction effects were more important than fm and grandmaternal effects. The comparisons of models suggest that ram may be biased downward if SH interaction and(or) grandmaternal effects are not included in models for weaning weight.