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See detailShort communication: Novel method to predict body weight of primiparous dairy cows throughout the lactation
Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Hammami, Hedi ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (in press)

Body weight (BW) of dairy cows can be estimated using linear conformation traits (calculated BW; CBW), which are generally recorded only once during a lactation. However, predicted BW (PBW) throughout the ... [more ▼]

Body weight (BW) of dairy cows can be estimated using linear conformation traits (calculated BW; CBW), which are generally recorded only once during a lactation. However, predicted BW (PBW) throughout the lactation would be useful, e.g., at milk-recording dates allowing feed-intake prediction for advisory purposes. Therefore, a 2-step approach was developed to obtain PBW for each milk-recording date. In the first step, a random-regression test-day model was used with CBW as observations to predict PBW. The second step consisted in changing means and (co)variances of prior distributions for the additive genetic random effects of the test-day model by using priors derived from results of the first step to predict again PBW. A total of 25,061 CBW from 24,919 primiparous Holstein cows were computed using equations from literature. Using CBW as observations, PBW was then predicted over the whole lactation for 232,436 dates corresponding to 207,375 milk-recording dates and 25,061 classification dates. Results showed that using both steps (the 2-step approach) provided more accurate predictions than using only the first step (the one-step approach). Based on the results of this preliminary study, BW of dairy cows could be predicted throughout the lactation using this procedure. These predictions could be useful in milk-recording systems to compute traits of interest (e.g., feed-intake prediction). The developed novel method is also flexible because actual direct measurements of BW can also be used together with CBW, the prediction model being able to accommodate different levels of accuracies of used BW phenotypes. [less ▲]

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See detailPrediction of Body Weight of Primiparous Dairy Cows Throughout Lactation
Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Hammami, Hedi ULg et al

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

Body weight (BW) can be computed using linear conformation traits (CBW). However, these traits are recorded mostly once during a lactation. Therefore, predicted BW (PBW) is needed throughout the lactation ... [more ▼]

Body weight (BW) can be computed using linear conformation traits (CBW). However, these traits are recorded mostly once during a lactation. Therefore, predicted BW (PBW) is needed throughout the lactation (e.g., allowing feed intake prediction in milk recording systems). A two-step procedure was developed to obtain PBW using a random regression test-day model using CBW as observations. Added second step consisted in changing prior distribution for additive genetic random effects using results from first step to predict again PBW. This method was applied on 24,919 primiparous Holstein cows having 25,061 CBW to obtain PBW for 232,436 test-days. Results showed that applying both steps provided more accurate estimates than using only the first step. Furthermore, this procedure predicting PBW throughout lactation is also extremely flexible because actual BW can also be used together with CBW, the prediction model being able to accommodate different levels of accuracies. [less ▲]

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See detailStrategies to combine novel traits across countries: example of heat stress
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Carabaño, Maria Jesus et al

Conference (2014, May 21)

Nowadays, novel traits are of great interest. However, phenotypes are siloed and mainly not shared. Heat stress is becoming problematic affecting animals’ performances and their well-being. Heat stress ... [more ▼]

Nowadays, novel traits are of great interest. However, phenotypes are siloed and mainly not shared. Heat stress is becoming problematic affecting animals’ performances and their well-being. Heat stress tolerance as a novel trait is only addressed by isolated within-country research studies. Integration and combination of local and foreign information sources is needed for better accuracy genetic evaluations. Therefore, this study was aimed to test the potential combination of sources of external information towards the evaluation of heat stress tolerance of dairy cattle. Long-term cow performances linked to environmental descriptors (weather parameters as proxy to climate change) collected over 10 years under the temperate conditions of the Walloon Region of Belgium and the hotter and warm Mediterranean conditions of Andalusia and Castile-La-Mancha Spanish regions were available. A total of 1,604,775 milk, fat, and protein test-day (TD) records linked to average daily temperature humidity (THI) values for 3-day lag before each TD were considered. Under a first strategy considering free-access to raw-data (phenotype and pedigree), a joint evaluation was firstly run using reaction norm models where production traits were considered as function of THI. A Belgian and a Spanish evaluation were also run using the same model. An alternative strategy considering only access to external information (i.e. regression coefficients for additive genetic effects (â and their associated REL)) was tested. In this case, foreign â and their REL resulting from the Spanish evaluation were first converted to the Belgian trait and thereafter integrated in the Belgian evaluation using a Bayesian approach. Rank correlations between regression coefficients, â (of the 1,104 bulls having daughters only in Spain) estimated by Belgian evaluation and â estimated by the joint evaluation were moderate (<=0.70). Corresponding rank correlations between â estimated by joint and Bayesian evaluations were significantly higher (ranging from 0.967 to 0.998), indicating that the Bayesian evaluation integrating external information was in good concordance with the joint evaluation. Results from this study indicated that the integration of external information via the Bayesian approach has a good potential to improve the genetic evaluation of sparse and siloed novel traits. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact of Heat Stress on Production in Holstein Cattle in four EU Regions. Selection Tools
Carabaño, Maria-Jesus; Hammami, Hedi ULg; Logar, Betka et al

Scientific conference (2014)

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See detailGenotype x Climate interactions for protein yield using four European Holstein Populations
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Carabaño, Maria-Jesus; Logar, Betka et al

Conference (2014)

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See detailGenotype x Climate interactions for protein yield using four European Holstein Populations
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Carabaño, Maria-Jesus; Logar, Betka et al

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

Reaction norm models were applied to investigate genetic variation in heat tolerance of Holsteins across environments using long term protein milk yield test-day records and weather variables as proxy of ... [more ▼]

Reaction norm models were applied to investigate genetic variation in heat tolerance of Holsteins across environments using long term protein milk yield test-day records and weather variables as proxy of climate change. Data represented four European regions characterized by different management systems and environments. Daily protein yield changed across the trajectory of temperature humidity index (THI) for all studied populations, pointing out negative associations between warm conditions and cow performance. For most regions, additive genetic variances for daily protein yield decrease when THI increases. Antagonistic relationships between level and intercept were relatively limited for Slovenia compared to the three other regions. Rank correlations of estimated breeding values for three proposed heat tolerance measures ranged from 0.56 (Spain and Slovenia) to 0.81 (Walloon Region of Belgium and Luxembourg), indicating a possibility of genotype by environment (G x E) for some pairs of regions. [less ▲]

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See detailStrategies to Combine Novel Traits across Countries: Example of Heat Stress
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Carabaño, Maria-Jesus et al

in Interbull Bulletin (2014), 48

Nowadays, novel traits are of great interest. However, phenotypes are siloed and mainly not shared. Heat stress is becoming problematic affecting animals’ performances and their well-being. Heat stress ... [more ▼]

Nowadays, novel traits are of great interest. However, phenotypes are siloed and mainly not shared. Heat stress is becoming problematic affecting animals’ performances and their well-being. Heat stress tolerance as a novel trait is only addressed by isolated within-country research studies. Integration and combination of local and foreign information sources is needed for better accuracy genetic evaluations. Therefore, this study was aimed to test the potential combination of sources of external information towards the evaluation of heat stress tolerance of dairy cattle. Long-term cow performances linked to environmental descriptors (weather parameters as proxy to climate change) collected over 10 years under the temperate conditions of the Walloon Region of Belgium and the hotter and warm Mediterranean conditions of Andalusia and Castile-La-Mancha Spanish regions were available. A total of 1,604,775 milk, fat, and protein test-day (TD) records linked to average daily temperature humidity (THI) values for 3-day lag before each TD were considered. Under a first strategy considering free-access to raw-data (phenotype and pedigree), a joint evaluation was firstly run using reaction norm models where production traits were considered as function of THI. A Belgian and a Spanish evaluation were also run using the same model. An alternative strategy considering only access to external information (i.e. regression coefficients for additive genetic effects (â and their associated REL)) was tested. In this case, foreign â and their REL resulting from the Spanish evaluation were first converted to the Belgian trait and thereafter integrated in the Belgian evaluation using a Bayesian approach. Rank correlations between regression coefficients, â (of the 1,104 bulls having daughters only in Spain) estimated by Belgian evaluation and â estimated by the joint evaluation were moderate (<=0.70). Corresponding rank correlations between â estimated by joint and Bayesian evaluations were significantly higher (ranging from 0.967 to 0.998), indicating that the Bayesian evaluation integrating external information was in good concordance with the joint evaluation. Results from this study indicated that the integration of external information via the Bayesian approach has a good potential to improve the genetic evaluation of sparse and siloed novel traits. [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 : an international journal of animal bioscience (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 detailStrategies to combine novel traits across countries: example of heat stress
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Carabaño, Maria Jesus et al

in Interbull Bulletin (2014), 48

Nowadays, novel traits are of great interest. However, phenotypes are siloed and mainly not shared. Heat stress is becoming problematic affecting animals’ performances and their well-being. Heat stress ... [more ▼]

Nowadays, novel traits are of great interest. However, phenotypes are siloed and mainly not shared. Heat stress is becoming problematic affecting animals’ performances and their well-being. Heat stress tolerance as a novel trait is only addressed by isolated within-country research studies. Integration and combination of local and foreign information sources is needed for better accuracy genetic evaluations. Therefore, this study was aimed to test the potential combination of sources of external information towards the evaluation of heat stress tolerance of dairy cattle. Long-term cow performances linked to environmental descriptors (weather parameters as proxy to climate change) collected over 10 years under the temperate conditions of the Walloon Region of Belgium and the hotter and warm Mediterranean conditions of Andalusia and Castile-La-Mancha Spanish regions were available. A total of 1,604,775 milk, fat, and protein test-day (TD) records linked to average daily temperature humidity (THI) values for 3-day lag before each TD were considered. Under a first strategy considering free-access to raw-data (phenotype and pedigree), a joint evaluation was firstly run using reaction norm models where production traits were considered as function of THI. A Belgian and a Spanish evaluation were also run using the same model. An alternative strategy considering only access to external information (i.e. regression coefficients for additive genetic effects (â and their associated REL)) was tested. In this case, foreign â and their REL resulting from the Spanish evaluation were first converted to the Belgian trait and thereafter integrated in the Belgian evaluation using a Bayesian approach. Rank correlations between regression coefficients, â (of the 1,104 bulls having daughters only in Spain) estimated by Belgian evaluation and â estimated by the joint evaluation were moderate (<=0.70). Corresponding rank correlations between â estimated by joint and Bayesian evaluations were significantly higher (ranging from 0.967 to 0.998), indicating that the Bayesian evaluation integrating external information was in good concordance with the joint evaluation. Results from this study indicated that the integration of external information via the Bayesian approach has a good potential to improve the genetic evaluation of sparse and siloed novel traits. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic effects of heat stress on milk yield and MIR predicted methane emissions of Holstein cows
Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Kandel, Purna Bhadra ULg et al

Conference (2013, August 28)

Dairy cows both contribute to and are affected by climate change. Breeding for heat tolerance and reduced methane (CH4) emissions is a key requirement to mitigate interactions between dairy cows and ... [more ▼]

Dairy cows both contribute to and are affected by climate change. Breeding for heat tolerance and reduced methane (CH4) emissions is a key requirement to mitigate interactions between dairy cows and climate change. This study was aimed to estimate genetic variation of milk yield and CH4 emissions over the whole trajectory of temperature humidity index (THI) using a reaction norm approach. A total of 257,635 milk test-day (TD) records and milk mid-infrared (MIR) spectra from 51,782 Holstein cows were used. Data were collected between January 2007 and December 2010 in 983 herds by the Walloon Breeding Association (Ciney, Belgium). The calibration equation developed by Vanlierde et al. (Abstract submitted to EAAP 2013; R² of cross-validation=0.70) was applied on the spectral data in order to predict CH4 emissions values (g CH4/d). These values were divided by fat and protein corrected milk yield (FPCM) defining a new CH4 trait (g CH4/kg of FPCM). Daily THI values were calculated using the mean of daily values of dry bulb temperature and relative humidity from meteorological data. Mean daily THI of the previous 3 days before each TD record was used as the THI of reference for that TD. Bivariate (milk yield and a CH4 trait) random regression TD mixed models with random linear regressions on THI values were used. Estimated average daily heritability for milk yield was 0.17 and decreased slightly at extreme THI values. However, heritabilities of MIR CH4 traits increased as THI values increase: from 0.10 (THI=28) to 0.14 (THI=75) for MIR CH4 (g/d) and from 0.14 (THI=28) to 0.21 (THI=75) for MIR CH4 (g/kg of FCPM). Genetic correlations between milk yield and MIR CH4 (g/d) ranged from -0.09 (THI=28) to -0.12 (THI=75) and those between milk yield and MIR CH4 (g/kg of FPCM) from -0.75 (THI=28) to -0.71 (THI=75). These results showed that milk production and CH4 emissions of dairy cows seemed to be influenced by THI. [less ▲]

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See detailThe potential of MIR spectra to certify milk geographic origin
Dale, Laura-Monica ULg; Laine, Aurélie ULg; Goubau, Amaury et al

in 64rd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (2013, August 26)

Protecting and supporting local production systems, regional authorities, as well as producers, give a very important role to milk quality. Therefore, this study was aimed to investigate the potential of ... [more ▼]

Protecting and supporting local production systems, regional authorities, as well as producers, give a very important role to milk quality. Therefore, this study was aimed to investigate the potential of mid-infrared spectroscopy (MIR) for certifying the geographic origin of milk. Because milk MIR spectral databases and extra phenotypes (breed, testday, livestock herd and origin appellation of traditional products) were available in the Belgium Walloon Region via European project OptiMIR (INTERREG IVB North West Europe Program), discrimination studies were conducted to distinguish Ardennes region (which is linked to PDO “Beurre d’Ardennes”) from the rest of Wallonia. A total of 542,733 spectral records linked to their geographic origin coming from Wallonia milk recording were used (97,369 of MIR spectra -Ardennes region and 450,326 -rest of Wallonia). A mixed model (fixed: breed, year and month of record, random: herd x year) was applied to obtain predicted MIR spectral values for all testdays and prediction errors (residuals) representing the factors not present in the model. In order to test the MIR ability to milk authentication, chemometric tools, such as partial least squat regression and linear discriminant analysis were applied to residuals for three MIR spectral regions (e.g. 930-1600 cm-1, 1710-1810 cm-1 and 2560-2990 cm-1). The classifications on not-corrected MIR spectral data were 95% and the cross-validation were 95% for Ardennes region. Results showed after correction of MIR spectra, the discriminant function constructed on the residuals spectra allowed a good discrimination. The results show that MIR spectroscopy techniques may provide useful fingerprints to detect geographic origin and could be potentially used in routine management decision and quality assurance tools. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic effects of heat stress on milk yield and MIR predicted methane emissions of Holstein cows
Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Kandel, Purna Bhadra ULg et al

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

Dairy cows both contribute to and are affected by climate change. Breeding for heat tolerance and reduced methane (CH4) emissions is a key requirement to mitigate interactions between dairy cows and ... [more ▼]

Dairy cows both contribute to and are affected by climate change. Breeding for heat tolerance and reduced methane (CH4) emissions is a key requirement to mitigate interactions between dairy cows and climate change. This study was aimed to estimate genetic variation of milk yield and CH4 emissions over the whole trajectory of temperature humidity index (THI) using a reaction norm approach. A total of 257,635 milk test-day (TD) records and milk mid-infrared (MIR) spectra from 51,782 Holstein cows were used. Data were collected between January 2007 and December 2010 in 983 herds by the Walloon Breeding Association (Ciney, Belgium). The calibration equation developed by Vanlierde et al. (Abstract submitted to EAAP 2013; R² of cross-validation=0.70) was applied on the spectral data in order to predict CH4 emissions values (g CH4/d). These values were divided by fat and protein corrected milk yield (FPCM) defining a new CH4 trait (g CH4/kg of FPCM). Daily THI values were calculated using the mean of daily values of dry bulb temperature and relative humidity from meteorological data. Mean daily THI of the previous 3 days before each TD record was used as the THI of reference for that TD. Bivariate (milk yield and a CH4 trait) random regression TD mixed models with random linear regressions on THI values were used. Estimated average daily heritability for milk yield was 0.17 and decreased slightly at extreme THI values. However, heritabilities of MIR CH4 traits increased as THI values increase: from 0.10 (THI=28) to 0.14 (THI=75) for MIR CH4 (g/d) and from 0.14 (THI=28) to 0.21 (THI=75) for MIR CH4 (g/kg of FCPM). Genetic correlations between milk yield and MIR CH4 (g/d) ranged from -0.09 (THI=28) to -0.12 (THI=75) and those between milk yield and MIR CH4 (g/kg of FPCM) from -0.75 (THI=28) to -0.71 (THI=75). These results showed that milk production and CH4 emissions of dairy cows seemed to be influenced by THI. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation of Heat Stress Effects on Production Traits and Somatic Cell Score of Holsteins in a Temperate Environment
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Bormann, Jeanne; M'Hamdi, Naceur et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2013), 96(3), 1844-1855

This study was aimed to evaluate the degree of thermal stress exhibited by Holsteins under a continental temperate climate. Milk, fat, protein, and somatic cell count test-day records collected between ... [more ▼]

This study was aimed to evaluate the degree of thermal stress exhibited by Holsteins under a continental temperate climate. Milk, fat, protein, and somatic cell count test-day records collected between 2000 and 2011 from 23,963 cows in 604 herds were combined with meteorological data from 14 public weather stations in Luxembourg. Daily values of six different thermal indices (TI) weighted in term of temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed were calculated by averaging hourly TI over 24 hours. Heat stress thresholds were firstly identified by a broken-line regression model. Regression models were thereafter applied to quantify milk production losses due to heat stress. The tipping points at which milk and protein yields declined were effectively identified. For fat yield, no valid threshold was identified for any of the studied TI. Daily fat yields tended to decrease steadily with increasing values of TI. Daily somatic cell scores (SCS) pattern was marked by increased values at both lowest and highest TI ranges with a more pronounced reaction to cold stress for apparent temperature indices. Thresholds differed between TI and traits. For production traits, they ranged from 62 (TI1) to 80 (TI3) for temperature-humidity indices (THI) and from 16 (TI5) to 20 (TI6) for apparent temperature indices. Corresponding SCS thresholds were higher and ranged from 66 (TI1) to 82 (TI3) and from 20 (TI5) to 23 (TI6), respectively. The largest milk decline per unit of mild, moderate, and extreme heat stress levels of 0.164, 0.356, and 0.955 kg, respectively, was observed when using the conventional THI (TI1). The highest yearly milk, fat, and protein losses of 54, 5.7, and 4.2 kg respectively were detected by TI2, the THI index that is adjusted for wind speed and solar radiation. The latter index could be considered as the best indicator of heat stress to be used for forecast and herd management in a first step in temperate regions under anticipated climate changes. [less ▲]

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See detailPotential use of mid-infrared milk spectrum in pregnancy diagnosis of dairy cows
Laine, Aurélie ULg; Goubau, Amaury; Dale, Laura-Monica et al

Conference (2013)

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See detailPotential use of mid-infrared milk spectrum in pregnancy diagnosis of dairy cows
Laine, Aurélie ULg; Goubau, Amaury; Dale, Laura-Monica et al

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

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See detailPotential of mid-infrared spectrum of milk to detect changes in the physiological status of dairy cows
Laine, Aurélie ULg; Goubau, Amaury; Hammami, Hedi ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2013)

Detailed reference viewed: 29 (13 ULg)