Direct and maternal genetic effects for body weight and price of calves sold for veal production

TitleDirect and maternal genetic effects for body weight and price of calves sold for veal production
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsPenasa, M., Cecchinato A., Dal Zotto R., Blair H., Lopez-Villalobos N., and Bittante G.
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Pagination3385 - 3391
Date Published2012
ISBN Number00218812 (ISSN)
KeywordsAge, body weight, Calf, Genetic parameter, Market value, Price

The aim of this study was to estimate direct and maternal genetic parameters for age at sale (AS, d), BW (kg), price (PR, €/kg), and market value (MV, €/calf) of Brown Swiss male calves (Bos taurus) from first-(n = 6,719) and second-(n = 4,405) parity dams marketed at livestock auctions from 2003 to 2007, and destined for veal production. Market value was calculated as the product of PR and BW. Restricted maximum likelihood procedures incorporating multiple trait animal models were used to infer genetic parameters for AS, BW, and PR, whereas estimates for MV were from single trait models. Bivariate analyses treating performance of calves from first-and second-parity cows as different traits were also performed. Direct heritabilities for AS, BW, and cattle prices ranged from 0.046 to 0.090, 0.078 to 0.130, and 0.064 to 0.152, respectively, and the corresponding maternal heritabilities varied from 0.020 to 0.030, 0.036 to 0.079, and 0.020 to 0.045, respectively. Direct genetic correlations between the traits were generally moderate to high and negative, whereas direct-maternal relationships were moderate to low. Genetic correlation between the same trait recorded on calves from first-and second-parity dams was less than unity, but generally high and positive, suggesting that AS, BW, PR, and MV can be treated as the same traits across parities. As calf price is routinely collected at auctions and shows genetic variation, it can be genetically improved. © 2012 American Society of Animal Science.

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