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    Comparison between a Weibull proportional hazards model and a linear model for predicting the genetic merit of US Jersey sires for daughter longevity.
    J Dairy Sci 2004 May;87(5):1469-76
    Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.
    Predicted transmitting abilities (PTA) of US Jersey sires for daughter longevity were calculated using a Weibull proportional hazards sire model and compared with predictions from a conventional linear animal model. Culling data from 268,008 Jersey cows with first calving from 1981 to 2000 were used. The proportional hazards model included time-dependent effects of herd-year-season contemporary group and parity by stage of lactation interaction, as well as time-independent effects of sire and age at first calving. Sire variances and parameters of the Weibull distribution were estimated, providing heritability estimates of 4.7% on the log scale and 18.0% on the original scale. The PTA of each sire was expressed as the expected risk of culling relative to daughters of an average sire. Risk ratios (RR) ranged from 0.7 to 1.3, indicating that the risk of culling for daughters of the best sires was 30% lower than for daughters of average sires and nearly 50% lower than than for daughters of the poorest sires. Sire PTA from the proportional hazards model were compared with PTA from a linear model similar to that used for routine national genetic evaluation of length of productive life (PL) using cross-validation in independent samples of herds. Models were compared using logistic regression of daughters' stayability to second, third, fourth, or fifth lactation on their sires' PTA values, with alternative approaches for weighting the contribution of each sire. Models were also compared using logistic regression of daughters' stayability to 36, 48, 60, 72, and 84 mo of life. The proportional hazards model generally yielded more accurate predictions according to these criteria, but differences in predictive ability between methods were smaller when using a Kullback-Leibler distance than with other approaches. Results of this study suggest that survival analysis methodology may provide more accurate predictions of genetic merit for longevity than conventional linear models.

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