Genetic and phenotypic parameters for productive traits in the first three lactations of Khuzestan buffaloes in Iran
The objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters for milk and fat yields in Khuzestan buffaloes of Iran. A total of 5 258 production records of the first three lactations of the Khuzestan buffaloes obtained from the Animal Breeding Centre of Iran between 1993 and 2009 were used for the analysis. Genetic parameters were estimated by the multivariate restricted maximum-likelihood (REML) procedure in the Wombat program. The averages of milk and fat production were 2 220.0 kg and 137.6 kg for first lactation; 2 236.8 kg and 137.9 kg for second lactation; and 2 303.6 kg and 143.3 kg for third lactation, respectively. Heritability estimates for milk and fat yields were 0.06 and 0.24 for the first; 0.06 and 0.28 for the second and 0.26 and 0.47 for the third lactation, respectively. Genetic correlation estimates between first and second, first and third, and second and third lactations were 0.77, 0.67 and 0.79 for milk and −0.61, −0.21 and −0.25 for fat yields. These estimates for milk yield are consistent with previous estimates obtained from animal models. Milk production of different lactations is essentially the same trait genetically and combining all lactation records as a single trait is appropriate. On the other hand, negative genetic correlations for fat yield in different lactations indicated that fat yields in all lactations were determined by different genes.