Author(s): Lvendahl P, Chagunda MG
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Abstract Genetic variation in estrus traits derived from hourly measurements by electronic activity tags was studied in an experimental herd of Holstein (n = 211), Jersey (n = 126), and Red Dane (n = 178) cows. Both virgin heifers (n = 132) and lactating cows in the first 4 parities (n = 895 cow parities) were used, giving a total of 3,284 high-activity episodes indicating estrus. The first estrus after calving was predicted to occur on average, at 39, 44, and 45 d in milk for Red Danes, Holsteins, and Jerseys, respectively. Genetic variance was detected for the trait days to first high activity with a heritability of 0.18 +/- 0.07. The heritability for the period of increased activity was small (0.02 to 0.08) and of similar magnitude as that for the level of activity (0.04 to 0.08). Compared with fertility traits based on artificial insemination field data, activity traits have higher heritability than traditional fertility traits, and could therefore be helpful in selection for improved fertility.
This article was published in J Dairy Sci
and referenced in Advances in Dairy Research