J Anim Sci 2007 Nov 8;85(11):2861-5. Epub 2007 Aug 8.
Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de la República, 12900 Montevideo, Uruguay.
The aim of this study was to investigate the possible superiority of a threshold-linear (TL) approach for calving day (CD) and calving success (CS) analysis in beef cattle over 2 multiple-trait (MT), censored models, considering CD at the first 3 calving opportunities. The CD observations on animals that failed to calve in the latter models were defined as cows being assigned a penalty value of 21 d beyond the last observed CD record within contemporary group (PEN model) or censored CD values that were randomly obtained from a truncated normal distribution (CEN-model). In the TL model, CD records were treated as missing if a cow failed to calve, and parameters were estimated in a TL analysis including CS traits (TLMISS-model). The models included the effects of contemporary group (herd x year of calving x mating management), age at calving, physiological status at mating (lactating or nonlactating cow), animal additive genetic effects, and residual. Field data included 6,763 calving records obtained from first, second, and third parities of 3,442 spring-calving Uruguayan Aberdeen Angus cows. Models were contrasted using a data splitting technique, analyzing correlations between predicted breeding values (PBV) for each pair of subsamples, by rank correlations between PBV obtained with the different models, and by inspecting percentage of sires selected in common using the different approaches at 10 and 25% hypothetical percentages of animals selected. Breeding value correlations of CD between the subsamples for the TLMISS approach were greater (0.67 to 0.68) than correlations for the censored MT models (0.49 to 0.54). Average correlations between PBV of CD in 1 subsample obtained by CEN (PEN, TLMISS) and PBV of CS in the other subsample were -0.53 (-0.55, -0.60) in the first calving opportunity (CO), -0.54 (-0.58, -0.63) in the second CO, and -0.50 (-0.49, -0.58) in the third CO. Rank correlations between PBV for CD in PEN and CEN were high (0.93 to 0.97), but correlations of either method with PBV of CD in TLMISS ranged from 0.50 to 0.71. Common identification of bulls for the top 10% of sires (25% of sires), when selected with PEN/CEN models or the TLMISS model, varied between 50 (44%) and 60 (52%). The use of the TL animal model for genetic evaluation seems attractive for genetic evaluation of fertility traits in beef cattle.