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See detailPhenotypic and genetic variability of production traits and milk fatty acid contents across days in milk for Walloon Holstein first-parity cows.
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg

in Journal of Dairy Science (2011), 94(8), 4152-63

The objective of this study was to assess the phenotypic and genetic variability of production traits and milk fatty acid (FA) contents throughout lactation. Genetic parameters for milk, fat, and protein ... [more ▼]

The objective of this study was to assess the phenotypic and genetic variability of production traits and milk fatty acid (FA) contents throughout lactation. Genetic parameters for milk, fat, and protein yields, fat and protein contents, and 19 groups and individual FA contents in milk were estimated for first-parity Holstein cows in the Walloon Region of Belgium using single-trait, test-day animal models and random regressions. Data included 130,285 records from 26,166 cows in 531 herds. Heritabilities indicated that de novo synthesized FA were under stronger genetic control than FA originating from the diet and from body fat mobilization. Estimates for saturated short- and medium-chain individual FA ranged from 0.35 for C4:0 to 0.44 for C8:0, whereas those for monounsaturated long-chain individual FA were lower (around 0.18). Moreover, de novo synthesized FA were more heritable in mid to late lactation. Approximate daily genetic correlations among traits were calculated as correlations between daily breeding values for days in milk between 5 and 305. Averaged daily genetic correlations between milk yield and FA contents did not vary strongly among FA (around -0.35) but they varied strongly across days in milk, especially in early lactation. Results indicate that cows selected for high milk yield in early lactation would have lower de novo synthesized FA contents in milk but a slightly higher content of C18:1 cis-9, indicating that such cows might mobilize body fat reserves. Genetic correlations among FA emphasized the combination of FA according to their origin: contents in milk of de novo FA were highly correlated with each other (from 0.64 to 0.99). Results also showed that genetic correlations between C18:1 cis-9 and other FA varied strongly during the first 100 d in milk and reinforced the statement that the release of long-chain FA inhibits FA synthesis in the mammary gland while the cow is in negative energy balance. Finally, results showed that the FA profile in milk changed during the lactation phenotypically and genetically, emphasizing the relationship between the physiological status of cow and milk composition. [less ▲]

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See detailShort communication: estimates of genetic parameters of body condition score in the first 3 lactations using a random regression animal model.
Loker, S.; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Miglior, F. et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2011), 94(7), 3693-9

The objective of this research was to estimate the genetic parameters of body condition score (BCS) in the first 3 lactations in Canadian Holstein dairy cattle using a multiple-lactation random regression ... [more ▼]

The objective of this research was to estimate the genetic parameters of body condition score (BCS) in the first 3 lactations in Canadian Holstein dairy cattle using a multiple-lactation random regression animal model. Field staff from Valacta milk recording agency (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada) collected BCS from Quebec herds several times throughout each lactation. Approximately 32,000, 20,000, and 11,000 first-, second-, and third-parity BCS were analyzed, respectively, from a total of 75 herds. Body condition score was a moderately heritable trait over the lactation for parity 1, 2, and 3, with average daily heritabilities of 0.22, 0.26, and 0.30, respectively. Daily heritability ranged between 0.14 and 0.26, 0.19 and 0.28, and 0.24 and 0.33 for parity 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Genetic variance of BCS increased with days in milk within lactations. The low genetic variance in early lactation suggests that the evolution of the ability to mobilize tissue reserves in early lactation provided cattle with a major advantage, and is, therefore, somewhat conserved. The increasing genetic variance suggests that more genetic differences were related to how well cows recovered from the negative energy balance state. More specifically, increasing genetic variation as lactation progressed could be a reflection of genetic differences in the ability of cows to efficiently control the rate of mobilization of tissue reserves, which would not be crucial in early lactation. The shape of BCS curves was similar across parities. From first to third parity, differences included the progressively deeper nadir and faster rate of recovery of condition. Daily genetic correlations between parities were calculated from 5 to 305 DIM, and were summed and divided by 301 to obtain average daily genetic correlations. The average daily genetic correlations were 0.84 between parity 1 and 2, 0.83 between parity 1 and 3, and 0.86 between parity 2 and 3. Although not 1, these genetic correlations are still strong, so much of the variation observed in BCS was controlled by the same genes for each of the first 3 lactations. If a genetic evaluation for BCS is developed, regular collection of first-lactation BCS records should be sufficient for genetic evaluation. [less ▲]

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See detailIs there value in maintaining small populations ? Example of the Dual-Purpose Belgian Blue breed.
Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2011), 94(E-suppl.1), 664

Current status of thinking on genomic selection in dairy cattle is mostly major breed centric (e.g., Holstein) and only for traditional traits (e.g., milk yields). Once you depart from this, it becomes ... [more ▼]

Current status of thinking on genomic selection in dairy cattle is mostly major breed centric (e.g., Holstein) and only for traditional traits (e.g., milk yields). Once you depart from this, it becomes obvious that different, often related, issues appear (e.g., lack of large training populations, need for expensive recording of new phenotypes). Also, there is an urgent need to rethink issues that are important for sustainability of dairy production (e.g., added value foods, animal robustness). In this context, small populations (breeds/lines) could represent a potential source of extra information to justify their maintenance. As marker densities increase, efficient dissection of different selection histories of divergent breeds or lines, potentially identifying pockets of unexploited variability will increase. A current example from the Belgian (Walloon) perspective is the Dual Purpose (DP) line of the Belgian Blue Breed (BBB), with presently around 4500 breeding females, for historical reason of which only 1500 have good pedigrees, and which is present in Belgium and northern France. Recent research, done on this line, showed its tendency to produce less saturated milk fat and to have better fertility. Results indicated that it could stay competitive in specific markets, especially because of largely increased meat value. Currently, the myostatin mutation is largely used for breeding purposes. To assess the genetic diversity of the breed, recently, over 200 genotypes (SNP50K) for nearly all breeding bulls of the last 20 years became available. HD genotypes should be available in the near future, also allowing to access selection history of this breed as being in between the 2 extreme breeds: Beef BBB (with which it shares a recent history) and Holstein-Friesian (which is related through its geographic proximity over centuries). Finally, genomic selection for DP-BBB will need to consider a single step type approach without the need of reference population and potentially relying heavily on SNP3K of cows, also with the objective to recreate relationships between animals of interest. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic parameters of mastitis-correlated milk components in first parity dairy cows
Gillon, Alain ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg et al

Conference (2010, August 06)

Ind. of lactoferrin content, ind. of Na content, and lactose content were the three most correlated milk components with somatic cell score among available milk components predicted by mid-infrared ... [more ▼]

Ind. of lactoferrin content, ind. of Na content, and lactose content were the three most correlated milk components with somatic cell score among available milk components predicted by mid-infrared spectrometry on 590,083 test-day records from Walloon Region of Belgium collected between 2007 and 2009. Mean daily heritabilities and mean genetic correlations of these four traits were estimated using Gibbs sampling methodology applied to a multi-trait random regression test-day model with a subset of these records. Mean daily heritabilities of ind. lactoferrin content (0.34), ind. Na content (0.37) and lactose content (0.42) were higher then SCS (0.16) and mean genetic correlations were moderate (from -0.18 to -0.73), showing that these traits could be used together to describe udder health in genetic evaluations instead of SCS alone when clinical mastitis data are not available. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic correlations among body condition score, yield and fertility in multiparous cows using random regression models
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gillon, Alain ULg; Massart, Xavier et al

in Proceedings of the 9th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (2010, August)

Genetic correlations between body condition score (BCS) in lactation 1 to 3 and four economically important traits (days open, 305-days milk, fat, and protein yields recorded in the first 3 lactations ... [more ▼]

Genetic correlations between body condition score (BCS) in lactation 1 to 3 and four economically important traits (days open, 305-days milk, fat, and protein yields recorded in the first 3 lactations) were estimated on about 12,500 Walloon Holstein cows using 4-trait random regression models. Results indicated moderate favorable genetic correlations between BCS and days open (from -0.46 to -0.62) and suggested the use of BCS for indirect selection on fertility. However, unfavorable genetic correlations between BCS and yields (from -0.16 to -0.71) indicated that selection on BCS would have deleterious effects on milk, fat, and protein yields, especially in lactation greater than 1. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic parameters of mastitis-correlated milk components in first parity dairy cows
Gillon, Alain ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg et al

in Proceedings of the 9th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (2010, August)

Ind. of lactoferrin content, ind. of Na content, and lactose content were the three most correlated milk components with somatic cell score among available milk components predicted by mid-infrared ... [more ▼]

Ind. of lactoferrin content, ind. of Na content, and lactose content were the three most correlated milk components with somatic cell score among available milk components predicted by mid-infrared spectrometry on 590,083 test-day records from Walloon Region of Belgium collected between 2007 and 2009. Mean daily heritabilities and mean genetic correlations of these four traits were estimated using Gibbs sampling methodology applied to a multi-trait random regression test-day model with a subset of these records. Mean daily heritabilities of ind. lactoferrin content (0.34), ind. Na content (0.37) and lactose content (0.42) were higher then SCS (0.16) and mean genetic correlations were moderate (from -0.18 to -0.73), showing that these traits could be used together to describe udder health in genetic evaluations instead of SCS alone when clinical mastitis data are not available. [less ▲]

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See detailFemale fertility expression in Walloon dairy cattle
Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

Poster (2010, August)

A useful method to express female fertility of the Walloon dairy cattle using direct and indirect female fertility information was considered. Data were based on results of the genetic evaluation of ... [more ▼]

A useful method to express female fertility of the Walloon dairy cattle using direct and indirect female fertility information was considered. Data were based on results of the genetic evaluation of pregnancy rate for 606,328 Holstein cows and on INTERBULL proofs of female fertility for 88,496 bulls. A direct female fertility index (DFF), using INTERBULL proofs, was developed from results of a principal component analysis carried out on 6 published foreign female fertility indexes. An indirect female fertility index (IFF) was also developed from ten other traits evaluated in Walloon Region. Theory of selection index was used to combine DFF and IFF in a global index called combined female fertility index (CFF). This index allowed young bulls to have better reliabilities with an average increase of 12% leading to extra 4,019 of publishable bulls for female fertility. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic evaluation for body condition score in the Walloon Region of Belgium
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gillon, Alain ULg; Massart, Xavier et al

Conference (2010, June 02)

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See detailGenetic evaluation for body condition score in the Walloon region of Belgium
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gillon, Alain ULg; Massart, Xavier et al

in Interbull Bulletin (2010), 42

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See detailGenetic relationships between body condition score and reproduction traits in Canadian Holstein and Ayrshire first-parity cows.
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Loker, Sarah; Gengler, Nicolas ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2010), 93(5), 2215-28

The objective of this study was to investigate the genetic relationship between body condition score (BCS) and reproduction traits for first-parity Canadian Ayrshire and Holstein cows. Body condition ... [more ▼]

The objective of this study was to investigate the genetic relationship between body condition score (BCS) and reproduction traits for first-parity Canadian Ayrshire and Holstein cows. Body condition scores were collected by field staff several times over the lactation in herds from Quebec, and reproduction records (including both fertility and calving traits) were extracted from the official database used for the Canadian genetic evaluation of those herds. For each breed, six 2-trait animal models were run; they included random regressions that allowed the estimation of genetic correlations between BCS over the lactation and reproduction traits that are measured as a single lactation record. Analyses were undertaken on data from 108 Ayrshire herds and 342 Holstein herds. Average daily heritabilities of BCS were close to 0.13 for both breeds; these relatively low estimates might be explained by the high variability among herds and BCS evaluators. Genetic correlations between BCS and interval fertility traits (days from calving to first service, days from first service to conception, and days open) were negative and ranged between -0.77 and -0.58 for Ayrshire and between -0.31 and -0.03 for Holstein. Genetic correlations between BCS and 56-d nonreturn rate at first insemination were positive and moderate. The trends of these genetic correlations over the lactation suggest that a genetically low BCS in early lactation would increase the number of days that the primiparous cow was not pregnant and would decrease the chances of the primiparous cow to conceive at first service. Genetic correlations between BCS and calving traits were generally the strongest at calving and decreased with increasing days in milk. The correlation between BCS at calving and maternal calving ease was 0.21 for Holstein and 0.31 for Ayrshire and emphasized the relationship between fat cows around calving and dystocia. Genetic correlations between calving traits and BCS during the subsequent lactation were moderate and favorable, indicating that primiparous cows with a genetically high BCS over the lactation would have a greater chance of producing a calf that survived (maternal calf survival) and would transmit the genes that allowed the calf to be born more easily (maternal calving ease) and to survive (direct calving ease). [less ▲]

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See detailShort communication: Genetic relationship between calving traits and body condition score before and after calving in Canadian Ayrshire second-parity cows.
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Loker, Sarah; Gengler, Nicolas ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2010), 93(9), 4398-403

The objective of this study was to investigate the genetic relationship between body condition score (BCS) and calving traits (including calving ease and calf survival) for Ayrshire second-parity cows in ... [more ▼]

The objective of this study was to investigate the genetic relationship between body condition score (BCS) and calving traits (including calving ease and calf survival) for Ayrshire second-parity cows in Canada. The use of random regression models allowed assessment of the change of genetic correlation from 100 d before calving to 335 d after calving. Therefore, the influence of BCS in the dry period on subsequent calving could be studied. Body condition scores were collected by field staff several times over the lactation in 101 herds from Quebec and calving records were extracted from the official database used for Canadian genetic evaluation of calving ease. Daily heritability of BCS increased from 0.07 on d 100 before calving to 0.25 at 335 d in milk. Genetic correlations between BCS at different stages ranged between 0.59 and 0.99 and indicated that genetic components for BCS did not change much over lactation. With the exception of the genetic correlation between BCS and direct calving ease, which was low and negative, genetic correlations between BCS and calving traits were positive and moderate to high. Correlations were the highest before calving and decreased toward the end of the ensuing lactation. The correlation between BCS 10 d before calving and maternal calving ease was 0.32 and emphasized the relationship between fat cows before calving with dystocia. Standards errors of the genetic correlations estimates were low. Genetic correlations between BCS and calf survival were moderate to high and favorable. This indicates that cows with a genetically high BCS across lactation would have a greater chance of producing a calf that survived (maternal calf survival) and that they would transmit genes that allow the calf to survive (direct calf survival). [less ▲]

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See detailUsing body condition score to select for better reproductive performance
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Loker, Sarah; Gengler, Nicolas ULg et al

Article for general public (2010)

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See detailFemale fertility expression in Walloon dairy cattle
Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

in Proceedings of the 9th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Leipzig, Germany, 1-6 August, 2010 (2010)

A useful method to express female fertility of the Walloon dairy cattle using direct and indirect female fertility information was considered. Data were based on results of the genetic evaluation of ... [more ▼]

A useful method to express female fertility of the Walloon dairy cattle using direct and indirect female fertility information was considered. Data were based on results of the genetic evaluation of pregnancy rate for 606,328 Holstein cows and on INTERBULL proofs of female fertility for 88,496 bulls. A direct female fertility index (DFF), using INTERBULL proofs, was developed from results of a principal component analysis carried out on 6 published foreign female fertility indexes. An indirect female fertility index (IFF) was also developed from ten other traits evaluated in Walloon Region. Theory of selection index was used to combine DFF and IFF in a global index called combined female fertility index (CFF). This index allowed young bulls to have better reliabilities with an average increase of 12% leading to extra 4,019 of publishable bulls for female fertility. [less ▲]

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