Estimation of genetic parameters for young stock survival in beef x dairy crossbred calves

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  • R B Davis, SEGES, Danish Milk and Beef Research Centre, Agro Food Park 15, Aarhus N 8200, Denmark.
  • ,
  • E Norberg, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • ,
  • A Fogh, SEGES, Danish Milk and Beef Research Centre, Agro Food Park 15, Aarhus N 8200, Denmark.

Young stock survival is a trait of crucial importance in cattle breeding as calf mortality leads to economic losses and represents an animal welfare issue. The aim of this study was to estimate genetic parameters and sire breeding values for young stock survival in beef x dairy crossbred calves. Two traits were analysed with a univariate animal model: young stock survival between 1 to 30 days and 31 to 200 days after birth. Breed combinations with Belgian Blue sires outperformed all other sire breeds. The lowest survival rates were found for breed combinations with Jersey dams or Blonde d'Aquitaine sires. The results showed low but significant heritabilities (0.045 to 0.075) for both survival traits. Differences in breeding values between sires ranged from -2.5% to 3.5% and from -5.4% to 4.7% survival from 1 to 30 days and 31 to 200 days, respectively. Based on these findings, we concluded that it is feasible to breed for improved young stock survival in beef x dairy crossbred calves. This will hopefully contribute to increasing the survival rate of the calves and reduce economic losses for the farmers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1751731119002386
JournalAnimal
Volume14
Issue3
Pages (from-to)445-451
Number of pages7
ISSN1751-7311
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

    Research areas

  • Calf mortality, beef x dairy crossbreeding, genetic parameters, post-natal survival, veal production, calf mortality, THRESHOLD, CALF MORTALITY

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