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Effects of Breed and Region on Longevity Traits Through Five Years of Age in Brown Swiss, Holstein, and Jersey Cows in the United States

Journal of Dairy Science
American Dairy Science Association
DOI: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(06)72407-9
  • Genetics And Breeding


Abstract The objective of this study was to assess breed, and breed×region interactions for several longevity-related traits, measured up to 5 yr of age in Brown Swiss, Holstein, and Jersey cows in 7 regions of the United States. Data were analyzed using logistic, poisson, and linear models, and survival analyses. The traits were stayability (yes/no survived to 5 yr of age), number of completed lactations, days lived, herd-life, and days in milk (DIM) to 5 yr of age. Probable lifetime DIM were also estimated using data from the first 5 yr of age of the cows. Herd-life was defined as the days lived up to 5 yr of age minus the age at first calving. Days in milk consisted of herd-life up to 5 yr of age minus the dry periods. Three data files were analyzed: herds with one breed of cows, herds with Holstein and Brown Swiss, and herds with Holstein and Jersey cows. Breed×region interaction was usually significant, with larger effects for the southern regions. Jerseys obtained largest values for the ratio of DIM to days lived, and for the number of completed lactations to 5 yr of age. Brown Swiss had the largest probabilities of surviving to 5 yr of age (stayabilities) in all regions. For the other traits, the results for Brown Swiss were inconsistent, but usually the cows of this breed had shorter herd-life and DIM to 5 yr of age than Holsteins. Brown Swiss cows were expected to have more total DIM in their lifetime in the Southeast than Holsteins. Survival analysis gave the most readily interpretable information, although the linear, poisson, and logistic analyses answered slightly different questions. Adjustment for herd size did not modify the results.

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