Correlated Responses in Reproduction Accompanying Selection for Milk Yield in Jerseys

  • Bonczek R
  • Richardson D
  • Moore E
 et al. 
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Reproductive traits of heifers and primiparous cows from a long-term selection project were analyzed to determine correlated response to single-trait selection for milk yield. Data were from 1056 daughters (765 selection, 291 control) of 37 bulls (17 selection, 20 control). Traits in heifers were ages at first observed estrus and at first breeding, services to conception, interval from first service to conception, and length of first gestation. Traits in primiparous cows were ages at first calving and at first breeding after calving; services to conception; length of second gestation; and intervals from calving to first observed estrus, to first breeding, and to conception, from first service to conception, and from first to second calving. Analyses for services to conception in heifers and primiparous cows were categorical using models containing genetic group and generation. Analyses of other traits were by linear mixed models using fixed effects of genetic group, generation within group, and year-season of birth. Sires were assumed random and nested within genetic group. The mean square for sires within group was used to test for group differences. No significant differences were found between genetic groups in traits measured in heifers; however, the interval from first service to conception approached significance (control superior). In primiparous cows, differences between genetic groups were significant for the intervals of calving to first breeding and Calving to conception and for length of second gestation (control superior). For other traits, reproductive performance of the control was better but not significantly different from that of the selected group. Reproductive performance should be monitored during selection for high milk yield.

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  • R R Bonczek

  • D O Richardson

  • E D Moore

  • R H Miller

  • J R Owen

  • H H Dowlen

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