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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 detailGenetic analysis of heat stress effects on yield traits, udder health, and fatty acids of Walloon Holstein cows
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie; Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2015), 98(7), 4956-4968

Genetic parameters that considered tolerance for heat stress were estimated for production, udder health, and milk composition traits. Data included 202,733 test-day records for milk, fat, and protein ... [more ▼]

Genetic parameters that considered tolerance for heat stress were estimated for production, udder health, and milk composition traits. Data included 202,733 test-day records for milk, fat, and protein yields, fat and protein percentages, somatic cell score (SCS), 10 individual milk fatty acids (FA) predicted by mid-infrared spectrometry, and 7 FA groups. Data were from 34,468 first-lactation Holstein cows in 862 herds in the Walloon region of Belgium and were collected between 2007 and 2010. Test-day records were merged with daily temperature-humidity index (THI) values based on meteorological records from public weather stations. The maximum distance between each farm and its corresponding weather station was 21km. Linear reaction norm models were used to estimate the intercept and slope responses of 23 traits to increasing THI values. Most yield and FA traits had phenotypic and genetic declines as THI increased, whereas SCS, C18:0, C18:1 cis-9, and 4 FA groups (unsaturated FA, monounsaturated FA, polyunsaturated FA, and long-chain FA) increased with THI. Moreover, the latter traits had the largest slope-to-intercept genetic variance ratios, which indicate that they are more affected by heat stress at high THI levels. Estimates of genetic correlations within trait between cold and hot environments were generally high (>0.80). However, lower estimates (< = 0.67) were found for SCS, fat yield, and C18:1 cis-9, indicating that animals with the highest genetic merit for those traits in cold environments do not necessarily have the highest genetic merit for the same traits in hot environments. Among all traits, C18:1 cis-9 was the most sensitive to heat stress. As this trait is known to reflect body reserve mobilization, using its variations under hot conditions could be a very affordable milk biomarker of heat stress for dairy cattle expressing the equilibrium between intake and mobilization under warm conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailHot topic: Innovative lactation-stage-dependent prediction of methane emissions from milk mid-infrared spectra
Vanlierde, Amélie; Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Dehareng, Frédéric et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2015), In press

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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 (2015), 98

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 detailInnovative lactation stage specific prediction of CH4 from milk MIR spectra
Vanlierde, Amélie; Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Dehareng, Frédéric et al

Conference (2014, August 28)

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See detailUsing milk spectral data for large-scale phenotypes linked to mitigation and efficiency
Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Vanlierde, Amélie; Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg et al

Conference (2014, August 26)

Even if producing milk efficiently has always been a major concern for producers, the direct environmental impact of their cows is becoming a novel one. Traits linked to this issue were identified as ... [more ▼]

Even if producing milk efficiently has always been a major concern for producers, the direct environmental impact of their cows is becoming a novel one. Traits linked to this issue were identified as methane emission (CH4), dry matter intake (DMI) and feed efficiency (FE); however they are available on a small scale. Researches showed that CH4 could be predicted from milk mid-infrared (MIR) spectra, allowing large-scale recording at low cost. The main objective of this study was to show, using a modelling approach, that DMI and FE could be derived from milk MIR spectra. For that, knowledge of body weight (BW) is required; however it was unknown in this study. Derived procedure was based on milk yield and composition, MIR CH4, and modelled standard animal requirements, allowing the prediction of expected BW. An external validation was conducted based on 91 actual records. 95% confidence limit for the difference ranged between -0.66 and 18.84 kg for BW, from -0.02 to 0.26 kg/day for DMI, and from -0.02 to 0.002 kg of fat corrected milk/kg DM for FE. Root mean square errors were 39.66 kg, 0.56 kg/d, and 0.03 kg/DM for the 3 studied traits. P-value for the t-test was not significant for BW and DMI. This suggests the possibility to obtain expected BW and therefore DMI from MIR spectra. Single trait animal test-day models used 1,291,850 records to assess the variability of studied traits. Significant variations were observed for the lactation stage, parity, genetics, and age. These findings were in agreement with the literature except for early lactation. This suggests in conclusion that the MIR information gave similar results for DMI and CH4 for the major part of lactation. The use of this novel method to predict expected BW offers new possibilities interesting for the development of genomic and genetic tools. [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 detailUsing milk spectral data for large-scale phenotypes linked to mitigation and efficiency
Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Vanlierde, Amélie; Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg et al

in Book of abstracts of the 65th annual meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (2014, August)

Even if producing milk efficiently has always been a major concern for producers, the direct environmental impact of their cows is becoming a novel one. Traits linked to this issue were identified as ... [more ▼]

Even if producing milk efficiently has always been a major concern for producers, the direct environmental impact of their cows is becoming a novel one. Traits linked to this issue were identified as methane emission (CH4), dry matter intake (DMI) and feed efficiency (FE); however they are available on a small scale. Researches showed that CH4 could be predicted from milk mid-infrared (MIR) spectra, allowing large-scale recording at low cost. The main objective of this study was to show, using a modelling approach, that DMI and FE could be derived from milk MIR spectra. For that, knowledge of body weight (BW) is required; however it was unknown in this study. Derived procedure was based on milk yield and composition, MIR CH4, and modelled standard animal requirements, allowing the prediction of expected BW. An external validation was conducted based on 91 actual records. 95% confidence limit for the difference ranged between -0.66 and 18.84 kg for BW, from -0.02 to 0.26 kg/day for DMI, and from -0.02 to 0.002 kg of fat corrected milk/kg DM for FE. Root mean square errors were 39.66 kg, 0.56 kg/d, and 0.03 kg/DM for the 3 studied traits. P-value for the t-test was not significant for BW and DMI. This suggests the possibility to obtain expected BW and therefore DMI from MIR spectra. Single trait animal test-day models used 1,291,850 records to assess the variability of studied traits. Significant variations were observed for the lactation stage, parity, genetics, and age. These findings were in agreement with the literature except for early lactation. This suggests in conclusion that the MIR information gave similar results for DMI and CH4 for the major part of lactation. The use of this novel method to predict expected BW offers new possibilities interesting for the development of genomic and genetic tools. [less ▲]

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See detailInnovative lactation stage specific prediction of CH4 from milk MIR spectra
Vanlierde, Amélie; Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Dehareng, Frédéric et al

in Book of abstracts of the 65th annual meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (2014, August)

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See detailConsequences of Selection for Environmental Impact Traits in Dairy Cows
Kandel, Purna Bhadra ULg; Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg et al

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

Genetic selection programs aiming to mitigate methane (CH4) emissions require the estimation of genetic correlations with other production and economical traits and predicted selection response. CH4 ... [more ▼]

Genetic selection programs aiming to mitigate methane (CH4) emissions require the estimation of genetic correlations with other production and economical traits and predicted selection response. CH4 intensity was predicted from Mid-infrared spectra of milk samples from Holstein cows. Genetic correlations between CH4 intensity and milk yield (MY) was -0.68, fat yield (FY) -0.13, protein yield (PY) -0.47, somatic cell score (SCS) 0.07, longevity 0.05, fertility 0.31, body condition score (BCS) 0.17. Adding 25% relative weight on CH4 intensity to the current Walloon selection index, the response to selection would reduce CH4 intensity by 24%, increase MY by 30%, FY by 17%, PY by 29%, SCS by -14%, longevity by 24% but also reduce fertility by 11% and BCS by 13%. In conclusion, environmental traits can be added without jeopardizing production traits, but energy balance related traits have to be protected. [less ▲]

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See detailPhenotypic and genetic variability of methane emissions and milk fatty acid contents of Walloon Holstein dairy cows
Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Kandel, Purna Bhadra ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg et al

Poster (2014, February 17)

There is a growing interest in reducing methane (CH4) emissions from enteric fermentation of dairy cows because these emissions contribute to climate change and represent losses of gross energy intake for ... [more ▼]

There is a growing interest in reducing methane (CH4) emissions from enteric fermentation of dairy cows because these emissions contribute to climate change and represent losses of gross energy intake for cows. Milk fatty acid (FA) profile is influenced by rumen fermentations. The aim of this study was to estimate phenotypic and genetic variability of enteric CH4 emissions of dairy cows and FA contents of milk. CH4 emissions (g/d) and milk FA contents are predicted from milk mid-infrared (MIR) spectra based on calibration equations developed by Vanlierde et al. (2013) and Soyeurt et al. (2011), respectively. Data included 161,681 records from 22,642 cows in 489 herds. Genetic parameters of MIR CH4 emissions and 7 groups of FA contents in milk were estimated for Walloon Holstein cows in first parity using bivariate (CH4 emission with a FA trait) random regression test-day models. Saturated FA presented higher genetic correlations with MIR CH4 production than unsaturated FA (0.25 vs. 0.10). Genetic correlations with MIR CH4 emissions were higher for short- (SC) and medium-chain (MC) FA (0.24 and 0.23, respectively) than for long-chain (LC) FA (0.13). Phenotypic correlations between MIR CH4 emissions and SC and MC FA were also higher than those between MIR CH4 emissions and LC FA (0.20 vs. -0.08). Finally, results showed that MIR milk FA profile and MIR CH4 emissions are correlated emphasizing indirect link between milk FA and CH4 emissions through rumen metabolism. [less ▲]

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See detailConsequences of Selection for Environmental Impact Trait in Dairy Cows
Kandel, Purna Bhadra ULg; Vanderick, Sylvie ULg; Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg et al

Scientific conference (2014, February 07)

Environmental sustainability is gaining importance in dairy industry due to enteric methane (CH4) emission from dairy cows. We predicted CH4 indicator trait (CH4 intensity: CH4 g/kg of milk) from Mid ... [more ▼]

Environmental sustainability is gaining importance in dairy industry due to enteric methane (CH4) emission from dairy cows. We predicted CH4 indicator trait (CH4 intensity: CH4 g/kg of milk) from Mid-infrared spectra of milk samples and recorded milk yield. Genetic correlations between CH4 intensity and milk production traits were estimated on Holstein cows from correlations of estimated breeding values. Genetic correlations between CH4 intensity and milk yield (MY) was -0.67, fat yield (FY) -0.13, protein yield (PY) -0.46, somatic cell score (SCS) 0.02, longevity -0.07, fertility 0.31, body condition score (BCS) 0.27 and average of confirmation traits -0.23. Currently, there is no CH4 emission trait in genetic evaluation selection index. Putting an hypothetical 25% weight on CH4 intensity on current Walloon genetic evaluation selection index and proportional reduction on other selection traits, the response to selection will be reduction of CH4 emission intensity by 24%, increase in MY by 30%, FY by 17%, PY by 29%, SCS by -15%, longevity by 24%, fertility by -11%, BCS by -13% and conformation traits by 24%. In conclusion, introduction of environmental traits in current selection index will affect selection responses. As there is no economic value of these traits presently alternative methods like putting correlated traits with clear economic value (e.g. feed efficiency) in the selection objective could generate appropriate index weights. [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

Conference (2014)

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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 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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