Interbull Routine Genetic Evaluation for Female Fertility Traits

August  2009


International genetic evaluations for female fertility traits of bulls from Belgium (BEL), Canada (CAN), Czech Republic (CZE), France (FRA), Germany-Austria (DEU),Ireland (IRL), Israel (ISR), Italy (ITA), The Netherlands (NLD), New Zealand (NZL), Nordic countries (DFS: Denmark, Finland, Sweden), Norway (NOR), Spain (ESP), Switzerland (CHE and CHR, for Holstein and Red Holstein, respectively), United Kingdom (GBR), and The United States of America (USA) were included in this evaluation.

Based on a decision made by Interbull Steering committee in August 2007, female fertility traits are classified as follows:

T1 (HC): Maiden (H)eifer's ability to (C)onceive. A measure of confirmed conception, such as conception rate (CR), will be considered for this trait group. In  the absence of confirmed conception an alternative measure, such as interval first-last insemination (FL), interval first insemination-conception (FC),  number of inseminations (NI), or non-return rate (NR,preferably NR56) can be submitted;
T2 (CY): Lactating (C)ow's ability to (R)ecycle after calving. The interval calving-first insemination (CF) is an example for this ability. In the abscence of such a trait, a measure of the interval calving-conception, such as says oprn (DO) or calving interval (CI) can be submitted;
T3 (C1): Lactating (C)ow's ability to conceive (1), expressed as a rate trait. Traits like conception rate (CR) and non-return rate (NR, preferably NR56) will be considered for this trait group;
T4 (C2): Lactating (C)ow's ability to conceive (2), expressed as an interval trait. The interval first insemination-conception (FC) or interval first-last insemination (FL) will be considered for this trait group. As an alternative, number of inseminations (NI) can be submitted. In the abscence of any of these traits, a measure of interval calving-conception such as days open (DO), or calving interval (CI) can be submitted. All countries are expected to submit data for this trait group, and as a last resort the trait submitted under T3 can be submitted for T4 as well.
T5  (IT): Lactating cow's measurements of (I)nterval (T)raits calving-conception, such as days open (DO) and calving interval (CI).

Changes in national procedures

Changes in the national genetic evaluation of female fertility traits are as follows:
  ITA: HOL  EDC calculation was modified.

Changes in Interbull procedures

There has not been any change in the Interbull procedures since the latest evaluation. SOME MINOR CHANGES IN THE DOCUMENTATION FILE FORMATS.

Data and method of analysis

Traits submitted by the participating countries are presented in Table 1.

Data were national genetic evaluations of AI sampled bulls with at least 10 daughters in at least 10 herds. Table 2 presents the amount of data included in this Interbull evaluation for all breeds.

Information on the expression of national genetic evaluation results, (T)ransmitting abilities or (B)reeding values, and whether higher or lower values are desirable are presented in Table 3.

National proofs were first de-regressed within country and then analysed jointly with a linear model including the effects of evaluation country, genetic group of bull and bull merit. Heritability estimates used in both the de-regression and international evaluation were as in each country's national evaluation (Table 4).

Table 5 presents the date of evaluation as supplied by each country in the 019-proof file.

Estimated genetic parameters are shown in APPENDIX I and the corresponding number of common bulls are listed in APPENDIX II.

Ancestor-bulls without own proofs were traced back two generations from the oldest bulls with proofs in order to increase across country connections and account for the effect of selection.

Genetic groups were defined according to unidentified parents by national origin, breed and birth year of the bull and path of selection (sire, maternal grand-sire, maternal grand-dam). Minimum group size was set to 30.

Scientific literature

The international genetic evaluation procedure is based on international work described in the following scientific publications:

International genetic evaluation computation:

Schaeffer. 1994. J. Dairy Sci. 77:2671-2678
Klei, 1998. Interbull Bulletin 17:3-7

Verification and Genetic trend validation:

Klei et al., 2002. Interbull Bulletin 29:178-182.
Boichard et al., 1995. J. Dairy Sci. 78:431-437

Weighting factors:

Fikse and Banos, 2001. J. Dairy Sci. 84:1759-1767


Sigurdsson and G. Banos. 1995. Acta Agric. Scand. 45:207-219
Jairath et al. 1998. J. Dairy Sci. Vol. 81:550-562

Genetic parameter estimation:

Klei and Weigel, 1998, Interbull Bulletin 17:8-14
Sullivan, 1999. Interbull Bulletin 22:146-148

Post-processing of estimated genetic correlations:

Mark et al., 2003, Interbull Bulletin 30:126-135
Jorjani et al., 2003. J. Dairy Sci. 86:677-679
Genetic correlation estimation procedure

Time edits

Weigel and Banos. 1997. J. Dairy Sci. 80:3425-3430

International reliability estimation

Harris and Johnson. 1998. Interbull Bulletin 17:31-36

Publication of Interbull evaluations

Results were distributed by the Interbull Centre to designated representatives in each country. The international evaluation file comprised international proofs expressed on the base and unit of each country included in the analysis. Such records readily provide more information on bull performance in various countries, thereby minimising the need to resort to conversions.

At the same time, all recipients of Interbull results are expected to honour the agreed code of practice, decided by the Interbull Steering Committee, and only publish international evaluations on their own country scale. Evaluations expressed on another country scale are confidential and may only be used internally for  research and review purposes.

All recipients are also expected to follow the agreed guidelines for advertising genetic merit. The guidelines has been distributed to all members and is available on the Interbull homepage ( under "Publications and Documentation/General information".

Test evaluation results are meant for review purposes only and should not be published.

Next routine international evaluation

The next routine evaluation of Interbull for production, conformation, udder health, longevity, calving, female fertility and workability traits is scheduled for January 2010. Deadline for sending data to the Interbull Centre is Tuesday December 8, 2009, 17:00 CET; confidential distribution of results is targeted for Thursday January 7, 2010, with earliest possible official release of results on January 12, 2010.

Next test international evaluation

The next test run for production, conformation, udder health, longevity, calving, female fertility and workability traits will take place in September 2009.

Countries planning to introduce changes in their national evaluation procedures and wishing to have them included in the routine Interbull evaluation, should have their data examined in this test run. New data and validation results should be sent to the Interbull Centre no later than September 8, 2009, 17:00 CET.

Means of result distribution from the Interbull Centre

Electronic exchange of data is probably more efficient than anything else. Currently most countries in the service have established internet connections and receive international evaluation results on the day of their release. Subscribers to the service that do not already exercise this option are encouraged to consider it and establish an internet connection and ftp account. When such accounts are available, please provide their specifications to the Interbull Centre. Until then, data will be delivered on CD-ROM's.

For more information about the international genetic evaluation service please contact the Interbull Centre: address: SLU Box 7023, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden;  fax: +46-18-672648;

  e-mail:   Phone : +46-18-671994 +46-18-671974   +46-18-671955 +46-18-672438 +46-18-671964   +46-18-671987   +46-18-671975 +46-18-671976 +46-18-671968

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