Estimation of genetic parameters for female fertility traits in the Czech Holstein population

BRZÁKOVÁ, Michaela, ZAVADILOVÁ, Ludmila, PŘIBYL, Josef, PEŠEK, Petr, KAŠNÁ, Eva and KRANJČEVIČOVÁ, Anita. Estimation of genetic parameters for female fertility traits in the Czech Holstein population. Czech Journal of Animal Science, 2019, 64, 199-206. ISSN 1212-1819.
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Genetic parameters for fertility traits in Czech Holstein population were estimated. The database obtained from the Czech-Moravian Breeders Corporation with 6 414 486 insemination records between years 2005–2015 was used. Date of calving of the selected animals was taken from the database of milk records from 2005–2015. Fertility traits were age at first service (AFS), age at first calving (AFC), days open (DO), calving interval (CI) and first service to conception interval in cows (FSC-C) and heifers (FSC-H). The heritability of each trait was estimated using single-trait animal models. The model included fixed effects of herd-year-season of birth, herd-year-month of calving, lactation order, parity, last calving ease, linear and quadratic regressions on age at first insemination in heifers or on age at first calving in cows. Random effects were animal, permanent environmental effect and random residual error. After edits, the final data set included up to 599 901 observations from up to 448 037 animals dependent on traits. The range of heritability estimates was from 0.010 to 0.058. The lowest heritability was for first service to conception interval in heifers, and the highest heritability was for age at first service. Variances of random permanent effects were higher than variance of additive genetic effect in all traits manifested in mature cows. Repeatability ranged from 0.060 to 0.090. Genetic correlations between traits were estimated using a bivariate animal model. High positive genetic correlations were found between AFS–AFC, DO–CI, FSC-C–DO and FSC-C–CI. A moderate genetic correlation was found between AFS–FSC-H and between AFC. A negative correlation was found between AFS–FSC-C. Correlations between other traits were close to zero. The results suggest that the level of these reproductive traits can be improved by selection of animals with high genetic merit.