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Test-day models for South African dairy cattle for participation in international evaluations

BE Mostert
HE Theron
FHJ Kanfer
E van Marle-Köster


Variance components and breeding values of production traits and somatic cell score of South African Guernsey, Ayrshire, Holstein and Jersey breeds have been estimated using a multi-lactation repeatability test-day model, including tests of the first three lactations as repeated measures and fitting the permanent environmental effect across lactations. Multitrait evaluations were done for the production traits (milk, butterfat and protein) and single trait evaluations for somatic cell score. Heritability estimates were comparable with yield and somatic cell score estimates obtained by test-day models from other countries (17-24% for milk yield; 10-13% for butterfat yield; 14-19% for protein yield and 6-8% for somatic cell score). Proofs of qualifying sires were sent to the International Bull Evaluation Service (INTERBULL) for participation in the March 2005 test runs. Genetic correlations between South Africa and other participating countries, estimated by INTERBULL, compared well with those amongst the other participating countries. Trend validation tests were successful using this methodology for all traits and breeds except for somatic cell score of the Guernsey breed, due to insufficient data for this trait. South Africa can now participate in routine INTERBULL evaluations to obtain Multiple Across Country Evaluation (MACE) breeding values, using this methodology.

South African Journal of Animal Science Vol. 36(1) 2006: 58-70

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eISSN: 2221-4062
print ISSN: 0375-1589