Estimates of genetic correlations between days to calving and reproductive and weight traits in Nelore cattle.
J Anim Sci 2005 Jul;83(7):1511-5
Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias, UNESP, Jaboticabal, SP, 14884-900, Brazil.
Data comprising 53,181 calving records were analyzed to estimate the genetic correlation between days to calving (DC), and days to first calving (DFC), and the following traits: scrotal circumference (SC), age at first calving (AFC), and weight adjusted for 550 d of age (W550) in a Nelore herd. (Co)variance components were estimated using the REML method fitting bivariate animal models. The fixed effects considered for DC were contemporary group, month of last calving, and age at breeding season (linear and quadratic effects). Contemporary groups were composed by herd, year, season, and management group at birth; herd and management group at weaning; herd, season, and management group at mating; and sex of calf and mating type (multiple sires, single sire, or AI). In DFC analysis, the same fixed effects were considered excluding the month of last calving. For DC, a repeatability animal model was applied. Noncalvers were not considered in analyses because an attempt to include them, attributing a penalty, did not improve the identification of genetic differences between animals. Heritability estimates ranged from 0.04 to 0.06 for DC, from 0.06 to 0.13 for DFC, from 0.42 to 0.44 for SC, from 0.06 to 0.08 for AFC, and was 0.30 for W550. The genetic correlation estimated between DC and SC was low and negative (-0.10), between DC and AFC was high and positive (0.76), and between DC and W550 was almost null (0.07). Similar results were found for genetic correlation estimates between DFC and SC (-0.14), AFC (0.94), and W550 (-0.02). The genetic correlation estimates indicate that the use of DC in the selection of beef cattle may promote favorable correlated responses to age at first mating and, consequently, higher gains in sexual precocity can be expected.