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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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See detailAssociations among BCS, milk production and days-open in Walloon primiparous dairy cows
Massart, Xavier; Laloux, Laurent; Bastin, Catherine ULg et al

Conference (2009, August 27)

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See detailAssociations among BCS, milk production and days-open in Walloon primiparous dairy cows
Laloux, Laurent; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gillon, Alain ULg et al

in Book of abstracts of the 60th annual meeting of the European Association for Animal Production (2009, August)

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See detailEstimates of genetic parameters among body condition score and calving traits in first parity Canadian Ayrshire cows
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Loker, Sarah; Gengler, Nicolas ULg et al

in Book of Abstracts of the 60th Annual Meeting of the European Association for Animal Production (2009, August)

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See detailExpressing female fertility in the Walloon region of Belgium: how to do?
Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

Conference (2009, August)

Since September 2007, the Walloon Region of Belgium has used a genetic evaluation system for pregnancy rate in Holsteins and has participated in 3 of the 5 MACE trait INTERBULL runs for female fertility ... [more ▼]

Since September 2007, the Walloon Region of Belgium has used a genetic evaluation system for pregnancy rate in Holsteins and has participated in 3 of the 5 MACE trait INTERBULL runs for female fertility. In order to define general way of female fertility expression, a principal component analysis was carried out on six published foreign female fertility indexes. Results of were used to compute a direct female fertility index with the INTERBULL international female fertility proofs available on the Walloon scale. An indirect female fertility index was also developed in order to increase reliability of young bulls. Approximate procedure based on selection index was used to combine both indexes in an overall index called combined female fertility index. This index was highly correlated with the direct female fertility index (.96) and the first principal component (.85), therefore it was considered as good expression of female fertility. Moreover, this allowed recovering 4,019 INTERBULL bulls with a publishable female fertility index. [less ▲]

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See detailLe BCS, une méthode simple à la source de conseils variés : ration, repro et santé
Laloux, Laurent; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gillon, Alain ULg et al

Poster (2009, February 11)

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See detailModeling milk urea of Walloon dairy cows in management perspectives.
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Laloux, Laurent; Gillon, Alain ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2009), 92(7), 3529-40

The aim of this study was to develop an adapted random regression test-day model for milk urea (MU) and to study the possibility of using predictions and solutions given by the model for management ... [more ▼]

The aim of this study was to develop an adapted random regression test-day model for milk urea (MU) and to study the possibility of using predictions and solutions given by the model for management purposes. Data included 607,416 MU test-day records of first-lactation cows from 632 dairy herds in the Walloon Region of Belgium. Several advanced features were used. First, to detect the herd influence, the classical herd x test-day effect was split into 3 new effects: a fixed herd x year effect, a fixed herd x month-period effect, and a random herd test-day effect. A fixed time period regression was added in the model to take into account the yearly oscillations of MU on a population scale. Moreover, first autoregressive processes were introduced and allowed us to consider the link between successive test-day records. The variance component estimation indicated that large variance was associated with the random herd x test-day effect (48% of the total variance), suggesting the strong influence of herd management on the MU level. The heritability estimate was 0.13. By comparing observed and predicted MU levels at both the individual and herd levels, target ranges for MU concentrations were defined to take into account features of each cow and each herd. At the cow level, an MU record was considered as deviant if it was <200 or >400 mg/L (target range used in the field) and if the prediction error was >50 mg/L (indicating a significant deviation from the expected level). Approximately 7.5% of the MU records collected between June 2007 and May 2008 were beyond these thresholds. This combination allowed for the detection of potentially suspicious cows. At the herd level, the expected MU level was considered as the sum of the solutions for specific herd effects. A herd was considered as deviant from its target range when the prediction error was greater than the standard deviation of MU averaged by herd test day. Results showed that 6.7% of the herd test-day MU levels between June 2007 and May 2008 were considered deviant. These deviations seemed to occur more often during the grazing period. Although theoretical considerations developed in this study should be validated in the field, this research showed the potential use of a test-day model for analyzing functional traits to advise dairy farmers. [less ▲]

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See detailEnvironmental sensitivity for milk yield in Luxembourg and Tunisian Holsteins by herd management level.
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Rekik, Boulbaba; Bastin, Catherine ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2009), 92(9), 4604-12

Milk production data of Luxembourg and Tunisian Holstein cows were analyzed using herd management (HM) level. Herds in each country were clustered into high, medium, and low HM levels based on solutions ... [more ▼]

Milk production data of Luxembourg and Tunisian Holstein cows were analyzed using herd management (HM) level. Herds in each country were clustered into high, medium, and low HM levels based on solutions of herd-test-date and herd-year of calving effects from national evaluations. Data from both populations included 730,810 test-day (TD) milk yield records from 87,734 first-lactation cows. A multi-trait, random regression TD model was used to estimate (co)variance components for milk yield within and across country HM levels. Additive genetic and permanent environmental variances of TD milk yields varied with management level in Tunisia and Luxembourg. Additive variances were smaller across HM levels in Tunisia than in Luxembourg, whereas permanent environmental variances were larger in Tunisian HM levels. Highest heritability estimates of 305-d milk yield (0.41 and 0.21) were found in high HM levels, whereas lowest estimates (0.31 and 0.12, respectively) were associated with low HM levels in both countries. Genetic correlations among Luxembourg HM levels were >0.96, whereas those among Tunisian HM levels were below 0.80. Respective rank orders of sires ranged from 0.73 to 0.83 across Luxembourg environments and from 0.33 to 0.42 across Tunisian HM levels indicating high re-ranking of sires in Tunisia and only a scaling effect in Luxembourg. Across-country environment analysis showed that estimates of genetic variance in the high, medium, and low classes of Tunisian environments were 45, 69, and 81% lower, respectively, than the estimate found in the high Luxembourg HM level. Genetic correlations among 305-d milk yields in Tunisian and Luxembourg HM environments ranged from 0.39 to 0.79. The largest estimated genetic correlation was found between the medium Luxembourg and high Tunisian HM levels. Rank correlations for common sires' estimated breeding values among HM environments were low and ranged from 0.19 to 0.39, implying the existence of genotype by environment interaction. These results indicate that daughters of superior sires in Luxembourg have their genetic expression for milk production limited under Tunisian environments. Milk production of cows in the medium and low Luxembourg environments were good predictors of that of their paternal half-sisters in the high Tunisian HM level. Breeding decisions in low-input Tunisian environment should utilize semen from sires with daughters in similar production environments rather than semen of bulls proven in higher management levels. [less ▲]

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See detailAccessing genotype by environment interaction using within- and across-country test-day random regression sire models
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Rekik, Boulbaba; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg et al

in Journal of Animal Breeding & Genetics (2009), 126(5), 366-377

First-lactation test-day (TD) milk records of Luxembourg and Tunisian Holsteins were analysed for evidence of genotype by environment interaction (G · E). The joint data included 730 810 TD records of 87 ... [more ▼]

First-lactation test-day (TD) milk records of Luxembourg and Tunisian Holsteins were analysed for evidence of genotype by environment interaction (G · E). The joint data included 730 810 TD records of 87 734 cows and 231 common sires. Random regression TD sire models with fourth-order Legendre polynomials were used to estimate genetic parameters via within- and across-country analyses. Daily heritability estimates of milk yield from within-country analysis were between 0.11 and 0.32, and 0.03 and 0.13 in Luxembourg and Tunisia, respectively. Heritability estimates for 305-day milk yield and persistency (defined as the breeding value for milk yield on DIM 280 minus the breeding value on DIM 80) were lower for Tunisian Holsteins compared with the Luxembourg population. Specifically, heritability for 305-day milk yield was 0.16 for within- and 0.11 for across-country analyses for Tunisian Holsteins and 0.38 for within- and 0.40 for across-country analyses for Luxembourg Holsteins. Heritability for apparent persistency was 0.02 for both within and across-country analyses for Tunisian Holsteins and 0.08 for within and 0.09 for across-country analyses for Luxembourg Holsteins. Genetic correlations between the two countries were 0.50 for 305-day milk yield and 0.43 for apparent persistency. Moreover, rank correlations between the estimated breeding values of common sires for 305-day milk yield and persistency, estimated separately in each country, were low. Low genetic correlations are evidence for G · E for milk yield production while low rank correlations suggest different rankings of sires in both environments. Results from this study indicate that milk production of daughters of the same sires depends greatly on the production environment and that importing high merit semen for limited input systems might not be an effective strategy to improve milk production. [less ▲]

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See detailUn intervalle vêlage court: un objectif intéressant pour les hautes productrices?
Laloux, Laurent; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Devroede, Lucie

Article for general public (2009)

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