Article| Volume 80, ISSUE 8, P1786-1794, August 1997

Realized Versus Expected Gains in Milk and Fat Production of Holstein Cattle, Considering the Effects of Days Open1

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      The objective of this study was to determine whether differences in first lactation production, unadjusted or adjusted for days open, were correctly predicted by pedigree estimates for two lines of Holstein cattle. Data on 875 cows from two selection lines were collected from 1970 to 1988. Lines were created by mating foundation females of high or low pedigree merit to sires selected for high or average PTA milk. Both lines were managed identically to minimize environmental differences. The number of days open was analyzed with a fixed effects model containing year, season, interaction of year and season, sire line, foundation group, and interaction of sire line and foundation groups. The high milk line had significantly more days open than did the average line. Adjusted and unadjusted records for milk and fat were analyzed with the model described previously, plus the interaction of sire line and year. Least squares means and estimates for mean parent average were used to calculate realized and expected differences in production between lines within and across years. Adjustment of records for days open reduced estimates of realized gain, but not significantly. Regressions of realized gain on expected gain indicated that expected gains were matched or exceeded by unadjusted or adjusted realized gain.

      Key words

      Abbreviation key:

      DO (days open), DOF (MEF records adjusted for DO), DOM (MEM records adjusted for DO), EBVF (EBV for fat), EBVM (EBV for milk), ME (mature equivalent), MEF (ME fat), MEM (ME milk), PA (parent average PTA)


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