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Genetic parameters for stayability to consecutive calvings in Zebu cattle

  • D. O. Silva (a1) (a2), M. L. Santana (a1), D. R. Ayres (a1), G. R. O. Menezes (a3), L. O. C. Silva (a3), P. R. C. Nobre (a4) and R. J. Pereira (a1)...

Abstract

Longer-lived cows tend to be more profitable and the stayability trait is a selection criterion correlated to longevity. An alternative to the traditional approach to evaluate stayability is its definition based on consecutive calvings, whose main advantage is the more accurate evaluation of young bulls. However, no study using this alternative approach has been conducted for Zebu breeds. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare linear random regression models to fit stayability to consecutive calvings of Guzerá, Nelore and Tabapuã cows and to estimate genetic parameters for this trait in the respective breeds. Data up to the eighth calving were used. The models included the fixed effects of age at first calving and year-season of birth of the cow and the random effects of contemporary group, additive genetic, permanent environmental and residual. Random regressions were modeled by orthogonal Legendre polynomials of order 1 to 4 (2 to 5 coefficients) for contemporary group, additive genetic and permanent environmental effects. Using Deviance Information Criterion as the selection criterion, the model with 4 regression coefficients for each effect was the most adequate for the Nelore and Tabapuã breeds and the model with 5 coefficients is recommended for the Guzerá breed. For Guzerá, heritabilities ranged from 0.05 to 0.08, showing a quadratic trend with a peak between the fourth and sixth calving. For the Nelore and Tabapuã breeds, the estimates ranged from 0.03 to 0.07 and from 0.03 to 0.08, respectively, and increased with increasing calving number. The additive genetic correlations exhibited a similar trend among breeds and were higher for stayability between closer calvings. Even between more distant calvings (second v. eighth), stayability showed a moderate to high genetic correlation, which was 0.77, 0.57 and 0.79 for the Guzerá, Nelore and Tabapuã breeds, respectively. For Guzerá, when the models with 4 or 5 regression coefficients were compared, the rank correlations between predicted breeding values for the intercept were always higher than 0.99, indicating the possibility of practical application of the least parameterized model. In conclusion, the model with 4 random regression coefficients is recommended for the genetic evaluation of stayability to consecutive calvings in Zebu cattle.

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Present address: Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias, Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho, CEP 14870-000, Jaboticabal, SP, Brazil.

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