Routine genetic evaluation for direct health traits in Austria and Germany

  • C Fuerst
  • A Koeck
  • C Egger-Danner
  • B Fuerst-Waltl
Keywords: genetic evaluation, genetic parameters, health traits, fitness, Fleckvieh cattle

Abstract

A nation-wide health monitoring system for cattle was started in Austria in 2006 in which diagnoses from veterinarians are recorded. In December 2010, routine genetic evaluations for mastitis, early reproductive disorders, cystic ovaries and milk fever started for Fleckvieh cattle (dual purpose Simmental) as part of the joint Austrian-German genetic evaluation. Heritabilities for the four traits based on a linear AM are 0.020, 0.023, 0.046 and 0.036, respectively. Genetic evaluations are carried out with the program MiX99 using a single trait linear BLUP AM. The fixed effects parity*age, year*month and type of recording*year as well as the random herd*year, random genetic animal and the random permanent environmental effects are included in the model. EBVs are published as relative EBVs with a mean of 100 and 12 points for one genetic SD, where higher values are desirable. EBVs are only published for bulls with a minimum reliability of 30%. Further work will focus on the inclusion of health traits in the total merit index, implementation of sub-indices for fertility and udder health and on other breeds and traits.