Genetic evaluation for functional longevity in Polish Simmental cattle

https://doi.org/10.17221/87/2016-CJASCitation:Morek-Kopeć M., Zarnecki A. (2017): Genetic evaluation for functional longevity in Polish Simmental cattle. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 62: 276-286.
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The Weibull proportional hazards model was applied for genetic evaluation of functional longevity in Polish Simmentals. Data consisted of production and disposal records for 12 527 Simmental cows, daughters of 294 sires, calving for the first time from 1995 to 2014 in 286 herds. Length of productive life of cows was calculated as number of days from the first calving to culling or censoring. Average length of productive life of 4462 cows with complete (uncensored) survival records was 1198 days (39.3 months); mean censoring time for the remaining 8065 cows was 1093 days (35.8 months). Functional longevity was defined as length of productive life corrected for production. The model included time-independent fixed effect of age at first calving, time-dependent fixed effects of year-season, parity-stage of lactation, annual change in herd size, relative fat yield and protein yield, and random herd-year-season and sire effects. Likelihood ratio tests showed a highly significant impact of all fixed effects on longevity, except for relative fat yield. Estimated sire variance was 0.069, resulting in the equivalent (accounting for censoring level) heritability of 0.09. Standardized relative breeding values (RBV) ranged from 71 to 139 (mean 101.4, SD 9.12). Average reliability of RBVs was 0.47. Moderate heritability supports the possibility of effective selection for functional longevity, which will be included in the total selection index for Polish Simmentals.
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