Procedures for estimation of genetic persistency indices for milk production for the South African dairy industry

B.E. Mostert, R.R. van der Westhuizen and H.E. Theron
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Procedures have been developed for calculation of a Persistency Index for South African dairy breeds. This index is based on the Canadian Persistency Index, which is simple and easy to understand. Data used in this study were test-day records of the first three lactations, as included in the National Dairy Genetic Evaluations of South Africa, of the Ayrshire, Guernsey, Holstein and Jersey breeds. Interpolation, using the Wilmink curve, was done on these test-day records to calculate 60-day and 280-day yields for each cow and lactation. Variance components have been estimated for these yields to be used in breeding value estimations, using bivariate evaluations and a repeatability model. To obtain independence of persistency from total milk yield, 305-day milk yield estimated breeding values were included as covariates in the genetic model for estimation of breeding values for 60- and 280-day yields. The Persistency Index will be released for sires with progeny following each national dairy genetic evaluation, allowing the South African dairy industry to select for changes in persistency in future.

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