Genetic Parameter Estimates for Lactation Curve Parameters, Milk Yield, Age at First Calving, Calving Interval and Somatic Cell Count in Holstein Cows

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture Science, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran


The objective of this study was to estimates the genetic and environmental components for the lactation curve parameters, milk yield, age at first calving (AFC), calving interval (CI) and somatic cell count (SCC) in Iranian Holstein cows. The dataset consisted of 210625 test day records from 25883 cows with milk yield in the first parity recorded from July 2002 to September 2007 in a total of 97 herds in Iran. The lactation curve and the selected lactation parameters were the scaling factor to represent yield at the beginning of lactation (a), the factor associated with the inclining (b) and declining (c) slopes of the lactation curves and the first 100-day milk yield, second 100-day milk yield, third 100-day milk yield, peak yield (Ymax), days in milk at peak yield (b/c), persistency (s), lactation length (LL) and the 305-day milk yield. The incomplete gamma function (Wood function) was used to estimate lactation curve and lactation parameters from daily milk records. Among the 100-day milk yield periods, the second 100-day milk yield had the highest heritability (0.29±0.024) and the highest genetic correlation with the 305-day milk yield (0.996±0.00). Lactation curve parameters had low h2 (0.017±0.007 to 0.051±0.011). The b / c had a relatively high genetic correlation with the 305-day milk yield (0.52±0.08), a moderate genetic correlation with CI (0.32±0.14) and negative genetic correlations with measures of somatic cell count. This suggested that b / c could be used as a criterion to improve 305-day milk yield and resistance to subclinical mastitis.


Atashi H., Moradi Shahrbabak M. and Moghimi Esfandabadi A. (2007). Investigation on the trend of milk yield over lactation time using mathematical functions in Holsteins cows of Iran. Iranian J. Agric. Sci. 38(1), 67-76.
Atashi H., Moradi Shahrbabak M. and Abdolmohammadi A. (2006). Study of some suggested measures of milk yield persistency and their relationships. Int. J. Agric. Biol. 8, 387-390.
Bagnato A. and Oltenacu P.A. (1994). Phenotypic evaluation of fertility traits and their association with milk production of Italian Friesian cattle. J. Dairy Sci. 77, 874-882.
Batra T.R., Lin C.Y., McAllister A.J., Lee A.J., Roy G.L., Veseley J.A., Wauthy J.M. and Winter K.A. (1987). Multitrait estimation of genetic parameters of lactation curves in Holstein heifers. J. Dairy Sci. 70, 2105-2111.
Berry D.P. and Cromie A.R. (2009). Associations between age at first calving and subsequent performance in Irish spring calving Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. Livest. Sci. 123, 44-54.
Bewley J., Palmer R.W. and Jackson-Smith D.B. (2001). Modeling milk production and labor efficiency in modernized Wisconsin dairy herds. J. Dairy Sci. 84, 705-716.
Dekkers J.C.M. (1991). Estimation of economic values for dairy cattle breeding goals: bias due to sub-optimal management policies. Livest. Prod. Sci. 29, 131-149.
Farhangfar H. and Naeemipour H. (2006). Estimates of genetic and phenotypic parameters for productive and reproductive traits in Holstein cows in Iran.J. Sci. Technol. Agric. Natur. Res. 11(1), 431-440.
Ferris T.A., Mao I.L. and Anderson C.R. (1985). Selecting for lactation curve and milk yield in dairy cattle. J. Dairy Sci. 68, 1438-1448.
Froidmont E., Mayeres P., Picron P., Turlot A., Planchon V. and Stilmant D. (2013). Association between age at first calving, year and season of first calving and milk production in Holstein cows.Animal. 7, 665-672.
Gradiz L., Alvarado L., Kahi A.K. and Hirooka H. (2009). Fit of Wood's function to daily milk records and estimation of environmental and additive and non-additive genetic effects on lactation curve and lactation parameters of crossbred dual purpose cattle. Livest. Sci. 124, 321-329.
Gressler M.G.M., Pereira J.C.C., Bergmann J.A.G., Andrade V.J., Paulino M.F. and Gressler S.L. (2005). Genetic aspects of weaning weight and some reproductive traits in Nellore cattle.  Arquivo Brasileiro Med. Vet. Zootec. 57, 533-538.
Haile-Mariam M., Bowman P.J. and Goddard M.E. (2003). Genetic and environmental relationship among calving interval, survival, persistency of milk yield and somatic cell count in dairy cattle. Livest. Prod. Sci. 80, 189-200.
Hare E., Norman H.D. and Wright J.R. (2006). Trends in calving ages and calving intervals for dairy cattle breeds in the United States.J. Dairy Sci. 89, 365-370.
Loker S., Bastin C., Miglior F., Sewalem A., Schaeffer L.R., Jamrozik J., Ali A. and Osborne V. (2012). Genetic and environmental relationships between body condition score and milk production traits in Canadian Holsteins. J. Dairy Sci. 95, 410-419.
MathWorks. (2008). Getting Started with MATLAB. The MathWorks, Natick, MA.
Meyer K. (2007). WOMBAT User Notes. A Program for Mixed Model Analyses by Restricted. University of New England. Armidale, NSW, Australia.
Moradi Shahrbabak M. (2001). Persistency in dairy cattle.Iranian J. Agric. Sci. 32(1), 193-202.
Nilforooshan M.A. and Edriss M.A. (2004). Effect of age at first calving on some productive and longevity traits in Iranian Holsteins of the Isfahan province.J. Dairy Sci. 87, 2130-2135.
ØdegArd J., Klemetsdal G. and Heringstad B. (2003). Variance components and genetic trend for somatic cell count in Norwegian cattle. Livest. Prod. Sci. 79, 135-144.
Osorio-Arce M.M. and Segura-Correa J.C. (2005). Factors affecting the lactation curve of Bos Taurus ×Bos indicus cows in a dual purpose system in the humid tropics of Tabasco, Mexico. Technol. Pecu. Mexico. 43, 127-137.
Pedron O., Tedesco D., Giuliani G. and Rizzi R. (1989). Factors affecting calving interval in Italian Holstein-Friesian heifers. J. Dairy Sci. 72, 1286-1290.
Pirlo G., Miglior F. and Speroni M. (2000). Effect of age at first calving on production traits and on different between milk yield returns and rearing cots in Italian Holsteins.J. Dairy Sci. 83, 603-608.
Rekaya R., Carabaño M.J. and Toro M.A. (2000). Bayesian analysis of lactation curves of Holstein-Friesian cattle using a nonlinear model. J. Dairy Sci. 83, 2691-2701.
Rekik B. and Gara A.B. (2004). Factors affecting the occurrence of atypical lactations for Holstein–Friesian cows.Livest. Prod. Sci. 87, 245-250.
Schneeberger M. (1981). In heritance of lactation curve in Swiss Brown cattle. J. Dairy Sci. 64, 475-483.
Shanks R.D., Berger P.J., Freeman A.E. and Dickinson F.N. (1981). Genetic aspects of lactation curves.J. Dairy Sci. 64, 1852-1860.
Tamminga S. (2000). Issues arising from genetic change: ruminants. Pp. 55-62 in Te Challenge of Genetic Change in Animal Production. W.G. Hill, S.C. Bishop, B. Mc Guirk, J.C. McKay, G. Simm and A.J. Webb, Eds. Occasional Publication no. Edinburgh, Scotland.
Tekerli M., Akinchi Z., Dogan I. and Akcan A. (2000). Factor affecting the shape of lactation curves of Holstein cows from the Balikesir province of Turkey. J. Dairy Sci. 83, 1381-1386.
Toghiani Pozveh S., Shadparvar A.A., Moradi Shahrbabak M. and Dadpasand Taromsari M. (2009). Genetic analysis of reproduction traits and their relationship with conformation traits in Holstein cows. Livest. Sci. 125, 84-87.
Vergara O.D., Elzo M.A. and Cerón-Muñoz M.F. (2009). Genetic parameters and genetic trends for age at first calving and calving interval in an Angus-Blanco Orejinegro Zebu multibreed cattle populationin Colombia.Livest. Sci. 126, 318-322.
Wood P.D.P. (1967). Algebraic model of the lactation curve in cattle. Nature. 216, 164-165.