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Mating allocations in Holstein combining genomic information and linear programming optimization at the herd level

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  • C. Bengtsson, VikingGenetics Sweden AB, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • ,
  • H. Stålhammar, VikingGenetics Sweden AB
  • ,
  • J. R. Thomasen
  • W. F. Fikse, Växa Sverige
  • ,
  • E. Strandberg, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • ,
  • S. Eriksson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

In this study, we explored mating allocation in Holstein using genomic information for 24,333 Holstein females born in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. We used 2 data sets of bulls: the top 50 genotyped bulls and the top 25 polled genotyped bulls on the Nordic total merit scale. We used linear programming to optimize economic scores within each herd, considering genetic level, genetic relationship, semen cost, the economic impact of genetic defects, polledness, and β-casein. We found that it was possible to reduce genetic relationships and eliminate expression of genetic defects with minimal effect on the genetic level in total merit index. Compared with maximizing only Nordic total merit index, the relative frequency of polled offspring increased from 13.5 to 22.5%, and that of offspring homozygous for β-casein (A2A2) from 66.7 to 75.0% in one generation, without any substantial negative impact on other comparison criteria. Using only semen from polled bulls, which might become necessary if dehorning is banned, considerably reduced the genetic level. We also found that animals carrying the polled allele were less likely to be homozygous for β-casein (A2A2) and more likely to be carriers of the genetic defect HH1. Hence, adding economic value to a monogenic trait in the economic score used for mating allocation sometimes negatively affected another monogenetic trait. We recommend that the comparison criteria used in this study be monitored in a modern genomic mating program.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)3359-3375
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Dairy Science Association

    Research areas

  • mating allocation, Nordic total merit, polledness, β-casein (A2A2)

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