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See detailGenetic correlations between methane production and milk fatty acid contents of Walloon Holstein cattle throughout the lactation
Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg et al

Poster (2015, April 16)

Methane (CH4) from ruminal fermentation is the major greenhouse gas produced by dairy cattle which contributes largely to climate change. Production of CH4 also represents losses of gross energy intake ... [more ▼]

Methane (CH4) from ruminal fermentation is the major greenhouse gas produced by dairy cattle which contributes largely to climate change. Production of CH4 also represents losses of gross energy intake. Therefore, there is a growing interest in mitigating these emissions. Acetate and butyrate have common bio-chemical pathways with CH4. Because some milk fatty acids (FA) arise from acetate and butyrate, milk FA are often considered as potential predictors of CH4. However, relationships between these traits remain unclear. Moreover, the evolution of the phenotypic and genetic correlations of CH4 and milk FA across days in milk (DIM) has not been evaluated. The main goal of this study was to estimate genetic correlations between CH4 and milk FA contents throughout the lactation. Calibration equations predicting daily CH4 production (g/d) and milk FA contents (g/100 dL of milk) from milk mid-infrared (MIR) spectra were applied on MIR spectra related to Walloon milk recording. Data included 243,260 test-day records (between 5 and 365 DIM) from 33,850 first-parity Holstein cows collected in 630 herds. Pedigree included 109,975 animals. Bivariate (i.e., CH4 production and one of the FA traits) random regression test-day models were used to estimate genetic parameters of CH4 production and 7 groups of FA contents in milk. Saturated (SFA), short-chain (SCFA), and medium-chain FA (MCFA) showed positive averaged daily genetic correlations with CH4 production (from 0.25 to 0.29). Throughout the lactation, genetic correlations between SCFA and CH4 were low in the beginning of the lactation (0.11 at 5 DIM) and higher at the end of the lactation (0.54 at 365 DIM). Regarding SFA and MCFA, genetic correlations between these groups of FA and CH4 were more stable during the lactation with a slight increase (from 0.23 to 0.31 for SFA and from 0.23 to 0.29 for MCFA, at 5 and 365 DIM respectively). Furthermore, averaged daily genetic correlations between CH4 production and monounsaturated (MUFA), polyunsaturated (PUFA), unsaturated (UFA), and long-chain FA (LCFA) were low (from 0.00 to 0.15). However, these genetic correlations varied across DIM. Genetic correlations between CH4 and MUFA, PUFA, UFA, and LCFA were negative in early lactation (from -0.24 to -0.34 at 5 DIM) and increased afterward to become positive from 15 weeks till the end of the lactation (from 0.14 to 0.25 at 365 DIM). Finally, these results indicate that genetic and, therefore, phenotypic correlations between CH4 production and milk FA vary following lactation stage of the cow, a fact still often ignored when trying to predict CH4 production from FA composition. [less ▲]

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See detailImproving dairy cow fertility using milk-based indicator traits
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

in Proceedings of the 10th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (2014, August)

Improvement of dairy cow fertility by means of genetic selection has become increasingly important over the last decades. Because fertility traits are difficult to measure and have low heritabilities ... [more ▼]

Improvement of dairy cow fertility by means of genetic selection has become increasingly important over the last decades. Because fertility traits are difficult to measure and have low heritabilities, indicator traits are of interest to supplement the prediction of genetic merit for female fertility. This paper examines milk-based traits that could be potential predictor of fertility: changes in protein and fat composition, fat to protein ratio, urea, lactose, ketone bodies, and mid-infrared prediction of body energy traits. The pattern of genetic correlations between these traits and fertility over days in milk is likely related to the cow’s energy balance state. Furthermore, changes in milk fatty acid profile were demonstrated as good potential predictors of fertility. Finally, additional research is warranted to investigate the association over the lactation between fertility and changes in milk biomarkers, potentially predicted by mid-infrared analysis of milk. [less ▲]

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See detailNon-genetic sources of variation of milk production and reproduction and interactions between both classes of traits in Sicilo-Sarde dairy sheep.
Merai, A.; Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Hammami, Hedi ULg et al

in Animal (2014), 8(9), 1534-9

This work aimed to study the sources of variation in productive and reproductive traits of the dairy Sicilo-Sarde ewes and to further investigate the interaction between both classes of traits. After ... [more ▼]

This work aimed to study the sources of variation in productive and reproductive traits of the dairy Sicilo-Sarde ewes and to further investigate the interaction between both classes of traits. After edits, a database containing 5935 lactation records collected during 6 successive years in eight dairy flocks in the North of Tunisia was used. Total milked milk (TMM) in the milking-only period was retained as productive trait. The interval from the start of the mating period to the subsequent lambing (IML) and the lambing status (LS) were designed as reproductive traits. Sicilo-Sarde ewes had an average TMM of 60.93 l (+/-44.12) during 132.8 days (+/-46.6) after a suckling period of 100.4 days (+/-24.9). Average IML was 165.7 days. In a first step, the major factors influencing milk production and reproductive traits were determined. The significant sources of variation identified for TMM were: flock, month of lambing, year of lambing, parity, suckling length, litter size and milking-only length. Flockxmonth of the start of the mating period, parity, year of mating and litter size were identified as significant factors of variation for IML, while flockxmonth of the start of the mating period, parity and year of mating were identified as significant sources of variation for LS. In a second step, variance components were estimated using a three traits threshold mixed model, which combined LS as categorical trait and TMM and IML as continuous traits. Repeatability estimates were 0.21 (+/-0.03) for TMM, 0.09 (+/-0.02) for IML, and 0.10 (+/-0.05) for LS. Moreover, TMM and IML were found to be favorably associated for the flockx year of lambing effect (-0.45+/-0.18) but unfavorably associated for the animal effect (0.20+/-0.09). [less ▲]

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See detailPotential for assessing the pregnancy status of dairy cows by mid-infrared analysis of milk
Laine, Aurélie ULg; Bel Mabrouk, Hana ULg; Dale, Laura-Monica ULg et al

in Book of Abstracts of the 65th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (2014)

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See detailGenetic variance in micro-environmental sensitivity for milk and milk quality in Walloon Holstein cattle
Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2013), 96

Animals that are robust to environmental changes are desirable in the current dairy industry. Genetic differences in micro-environmental sensitivity can be studied through heterogeneity of residual ... [more ▼]

Animals that are robust to environmental changes are desirable in the current dairy industry. Genetic differences in micro-environmental sensitivity can be studied through heterogeneity of residual variance between animals. However, residual variance between animals is usually assumed homogeneous in traditional genetic evaluations. The aim of this study was to investigate genetic heterogeneity of residual variance by estimating variance components in residual variance for milk yield, somatic cell score, contents in milk (g/dL) of two groups of milk fatty acids (i.e. saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids) and the content in milk of one individual fatty acid (i.e. the oleic acid, C18:1 cis-9), for first-parity Holstein cows in the Walloon Region of Belgium. A total of 146,027 test-day records from 26,887 cows in 747 herds were available. All cows had at least three records and had a known sire. These sires had at least 10 cows with records and each herd x test-day had at least five cows. The five traits were analyzed separately based on fixed lactation curve and random regression test-day models for the mean. Estimation of variance components was performed by running iteratively Expectation Maximization-Restricted Maximum Likelihood algorithm by the implementation of double hierarchical generalized linear models. Based on fixed lactation curve test-day mean models, heritability for residual variances ranged between 1.01*10-3 and 4.17*10-3 for all traits. The genetic standard deviation in residual variance (i.e. approximately the genetic coefficient of variation of residual variance) ranged between 0.12 and 0.17. Therefore, some genetic variance in micro-environmental sensitivity existed in the Walloon Holstein dairy cattle for the five studied traits. The standard deviations due to herd x test-day and permanent environment in residual variance ranged between 0.36 and 0.45 for herd x test-day effect and between 0.55 and 0.97 for permanent environmental effect. Therefore, non-genetic effects also contributed substantially to the micro-environmental sensitivity. Results also showed that the addition of random regressions to the mean model did not reduce heterogeneity in residual variance and that genetic heterogeneity of residual variance was not simply an effect of an incomplete mean model. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetics of mastitis in the Walloon Region of Belgium
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Laine, Aurélie ULg et al

in Book of Abstracts of the 64th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (2013, August)

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See detailGenetics of mastitis in the Walloon Region of Belgium
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Laine, Aurélie ULg et al

Conference (2013, August)

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See detailBody condition score and milk fatty acids as indicators of dairy cattle reproductive performances
Bastin, Catherine ULg

Doctoral thesis (2013)

Improving cow fertility by means of genetic selection has become increasingly important over the last years in order to overcome the decline in dairy cow fertility that has taken place over the past ... [more ▼]

Improving cow fertility by means of genetic selection has become increasingly important over the last years in order to overcome the decline in dairy cow fertility that has taken place over the past decades. However, fertility traits are difficult to measure and have low heritabilities. Consequently, indicator traits are of interest for breeding value estimation for fertility especially if these traits are easier to measure, have higher heritabilities and are well correlated with fertility. Therefore, the objective of this thesis was to investigate the opportunity of using either fatty acid contents (FA) in milk predicted by mid-infrared spectrometry or body condition score (BCS; i.e., a subjective measure of the amount of metabolizable energy stored in a live animal) as indicator traits of female fertility. Research conducted on BCS and fertility records from Canadian Ayrshire and Holstein cows indicated that BCS was heritable and showed a low to moderate favorable genetic correlation with fertility suggesting that higher BCS would be related to better fertility. Also, based on results obtained on Walloon data, selection for higher nadir BCS was suggested as useful to change BCS curve over the lactation and improve fertility. Furthermore, using records from Walloon Holstein cows, FA were demonstrated to be moderately heritable. Genetic correlations among FA and fertility were low to moderate and changed over the lactation. Overall, the pattern of genetic correlations of fertility with BCS and FA substantiated the known relationship between energy balance status and fertility. Body fat mobilization in early lactation induces BCS loss. Also, the release of long-chain FA in milk from the body fat mobilization inhibits de novo FA synthesis in the mammary gland, leading to a decrease of short- and medium- chain FA. To conclude, this research has shown that traits based on BCS and milk FA profile fulfill criteria to be considered as indicator traits to improve indirectly fertility of dairy cows. [less ▲]

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See detailSur la voie de l’élevage laitier de précision en Wallonie - 2. ValLait, OptiVal et OptiVal+ : valoriser des données du contrôle des performances
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gillon, A.; Massart, X. et al

in 18ème Carrefour des Productions agricoles: Nouvelles approches pour une optimisation de nos élevages laitiers (2013, February)

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See detailGenetic parameters of milk production traits and fatty acid contents in milk for Holstein cows in parity 1 – 3
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

in Journal of Animal Breeding & Genetics (2013), 130(2),

The objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters of milk, fat, and protein yields, fat and protein contents, somatic cell count, and 17 groups and individual milk fatty acid (FA) contents ... [more ▼]

The objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters of milk, fat, and protein yields, fat and protein contents, somatic cell count, and 17 groups and individual milk fatty acid (FA) contents predicted by mid-infrared spectrometry for first-, second- and third-parity Holstein cows. Edited data included records collected in the Walloon region of Belgium from 37 768 cows in parity 1, 22 566 cows in parity 2 and 8221 in parity 3. A total of 69 (23 traits for three parities) single-trait random regression animal test-day models were run. Approximate genetic correlations among traits were inferred from pairwise regressions among estimated breeding values of cow having observations. Heritability and genetic correlation estimates from this study reflected the origins of FA: de novo synthetized or originating from the diet and the body fat mobilization. Averaged daily heritabilities of FA contents in milk ranged between 0.18 and 0.47. Average daily genetic correlations (averaged across days in milk and parities) among groups and individual FA contents in milk ranged between 0.31 and 0.99. The genetic variability of FAs in combination with the moderate to high heritabilities indicated that FA contents in milk could be changed by genetic selection; however, desirable direction of change in these traits remains unclear and should be defined with respect to all issues of importance related to milk FA. [less ▲]

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See detailPhenotyping of robustness and milk quality
Berry, D.P.; McParland, S.; Bastin, Catherine ULg et al

in Advances in Animal Biosciences (2013), 4(3), 600-605

A phenotype describes the outcome of the interacting development between the genotype of an individual and its specific environment throughout life. Animal breeding currently exploits large data sets of ... [more ▼]

A phenotype describes the outcome of the interacting development between the genotype of an individual and its specific environment throughout life. Animal breeding currently exploits large data sets of phenotypic and pedigree information to estimate the genetic merit of animals. Here we describe rapid, low-cost phenomic tools for dairy cattle. We give particular emphasis to infrared spectroscopy of milk because the necessary spectral data are already routinely available on milk samples from individual cows and herds, and therefore the operational cost of implementing such a phenotyping strategy is minimal. The accuracy of predicting milk quality traits from mid-infrared spectroscopy (MIR) analysis of milk, although dependent on the trait under investigation, is particularly promising for differentiating between good and poor-quality dairy products. Many fatty acid concentrations in milk, and in particular saturated fatty acid content, can be very accurately predicted from milk MIR. These results have been confirmed in many international populations. Albeit from only two studied populations investigated in the RobustMilk project, milk MIR analysis also appears to be a reasonable predictor of cow energy balance, a measure of animal robustness; high accuracy of prediction was not expected as the gold standard method of measuring energy balance in those populations was likely to contain error. Because phenotypes predicted from milk MIR are available routinely from milk testing, longitudinal data analyses could be useful to identify animals of superior genetic merit for milk quality and robustness, as well as for monitoring changes in milk quality and robustness because of management, while simultaneously accounting for the genetic merit of the animals. These sources of information can be very valuable input parameters in decision-support tools for both milk producers and processors. [less ▲]

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See detailImplementation in breeding programmes
Coffey, M.P.; McParland, S.; Bastin, Catherine ULg et al

in Advances in Animal Biosciences (2013), 4(3), 626-630

Genetic improvement is easy when selecting for one heritable and well-recorded trait at a time. Many industrialised national dairy herds have overall breeding indices that incorporate a range of traits ... [more ▼]

Genetic improvement is easy when selecting for one heritable and well-recorded trait at a time. Many industrialised national dairy herds have overall breeding indices that incorporate a range of traits balanced by their known or estimated economic value. Future breeding goals will contain more non-production traits and, in the context of this paper, traits associated with human health and cow robustness. The definition of Robustness and the traits used to predict it are currently fluid; however, the use of mid-infrared reflectance spectroscopic analysis of milk will help to create new phenotypes on a large scale that can be used to improve the human health characteristics of milk and the robustness of cows producing it. This paper describes the state-of-the-art in breeding strategies that include animal robustness (mainly energy status) and milk quality (as described by milk fatty acid profile), with particular emphasis on the research results generated by the FP7-funded RobustMilk project [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 7 (4 ULg)