Estimation of genetic parameters for daily milk yields of primiparous Iranian Holstein cows
Applying a multiple trait random regression (MT-RR) in national level and for whole test day records of a country is a great advance in animal breeding context. Having reliable (co) variance components is a critical step in applying multiple traits genetic evaluation especially in developing countries. Genetic parameters of milk, fat and protein yields were estimated for Iranian Holstein dairy cows. Data included 276 692 test day (TD) production traits records collected of 30 705 primiparous cows belonging to 619 sires. An animal multi-trait random regression model was employed in the analyses using the restricted maximum likelihood (REML) method. The model included herd-test-date, age-season of calving (by applying a fixed regression for each subclass of this effect) and year of calving as fixed effects and random regression (RR) coefficients for additive genetic (AG) and permanent environmental (PE) effects. Obtained results showed that daily heritabilities ranged from 0.10 to 0.21 for milk, from 0.05 to 0.08 for fat and from 0.08 to 0.18 for protein yield. Estimated heritability for 305-d milk, fat and protein yields were 0.25, 0.20 and 0.25, respectively. Correlations between individual test day records within traits were high for adjacent tests (nearly 1) and decreased as the interval between tests increased. Correlations between yields of milk, fat and protein on a given test day are also high and greater during late lactation than during early or mid-lactation. Genetic correlations between 305-d yield traits ranged from 0.75 to 0.92. The largest genetic correlation, as well as permanent environmental correlation, was observed between milk and protein yield.