Articles | Volume 48, issue 3
10 Oct 2005
 | 10 Oct 2005

Estimation of variance components for production and fertility traits in Northern Thai dairy cattle to define optimal breeding strategies

S. König, N. Chongkasikit, and H.-J. Langholz

Abstract. Milk production in Thailand has been growing into an important agricultural sector, but it still faces numerous difficulties in environmental constraints. The main intention of this study was to identify significant environmental effects on production and fertility traits to give advices for farm management. Additionally, adjusting records for environmental impact is essential to define appropriate models for estimation of variance components and improving selection procedures. The data consists of production and reproduction records and body measurements from 2764 Holstein upgrade cows in 252 farms. With a body weight of 415 kg and a production level of 3668 kg milk Thai Holsteins only reach approximately 60 % of performances of Holsteins in temperate zones. Percentages of Holstein genes of cows and quality of roughage sources showed a certain effect on calving interval and services per conception but not on milk performances. Despite seasonal effects were not very pronounced on milk yield, there was a strong interaction between years and calving seasons. Estimates of variance components applying REML and animal models were in the range as expected, i.e. heritabilities for production traits between 0.34 and 0.37, for fertility lower than 0.03 and for body weight 0.46. Genetic correlations between fertility and production traits were near zero. Economic weights for milk yield and calving interval were derived as first derivation of profit functions and used for selection index calculations. Suc