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Analysis of longevity in Slovenian holstein cattle

DOI: 10.2478/v10014-011-0025-5

Keywords: cattle, breeds, Slovenian Holstein, longevity, Weibull proportional hazards model

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Abstract:

The longevity of Slovenian Holstein population was analysed using survival analysis with a Weibull proportional hazard model. Data spanned the period between January 1991 and January 2010 for 116,200 cows from 3,891 herds. Longevity was described as the length of productive life - from first calving till culling or censoring. Records above the sixth lactation were censored to partially avoid preferential treatment. Statistical model included the effect of age at first calving, stage of lactation within parity, yearly herd size deviation, season defined as year, herd, and sire-maternal grandsire (mgs). Some effects had time varying covariates, which lead to 1,839,307 or on average 16 elementary records per cow. Herd and sire-maternal grandsire effects were modelled hierarchically. Pedigree for sires and maternal grandsires included 2,284 entries. Estimated variance between herds was 0.12, while between sire variance was 0.04. Heritability was evaluated at 0.14. Genetic trend for sires was unfavourable, but not significant. A further research is needed to define the required number of daughters per sire and the dynamics of genetic evaluation for sires whose majority of daughters still have censored records.

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