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Effects of selection for production on maiden heifer fertility traits

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2017

J.E. Pryce
Affiliation:
Animal Biology Division, Scottish Agricultural College, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK
L.A. Wilson
Affiliation:
Institute of Ecology and Resource Management, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK
P.M. Visscher
Affiliation:
Institute of Ecology and Resource Management, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK
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Extract

There is evidence from UK field data to suggest that selection for milk yield has led to a deterioration in the fertility of lactating dairy cows (Pryce et al., 1997). As cow fertility may be affected by metabolic load and lactation effects, it is important to investigate the fertility of non-lactating heifers. Since 1973 selection line (S) cows at the Langhill Dairy Cattle Research Centre have been bred to bulls with the highest predicted transmitting abilities for weights of fat plus protein (PTA F+P) available in the UK, while the control line (C) are of about UK average genetic merit for PTA F+P. Results using data from lactating Langhill cows show that S cows have calving intervals that are, on average, 12 days longer than C cows, which is a combination of poorer conception rates and a delay in first observed oestrus (Pryce et al., 1999). The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of selection for PTA F+P on the fertility of maiden heifers at Langhill.

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Copyright
Copyright © The British Society of Animal Science 1999

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References

Pryce, J.E., Veerkamp, R.F., Thompson, R. Hill, W.G. and Simm, G. 1997. Genetic aspects of common health disorders and measures of fertility in Holstein Friesian dairy cattle. Animal Science. 65: 353360.Google Scholar
Pryce, J.E., Nielsen, B.L., Veerkamp, R.F. and Simm, G. 1999. Genotype and feeding system effects and interactions for health and fertility in dairy cattle. Livestock Production Science (in press).Google Scholar