Interbull Routine Genetic Evaluation for Conformation Traits

February 2004



International genetic evaluations for conformation traits of Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein and Jersey bulls from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Rep. of South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America were computed in this routine evaluation.

New data (national genetic evaluations) included in this evaluation:

Changes in Interbull procedures:

Data and method of analysis

Data were national genetic evaluations of AI sampled bulls with daughters in at least 10 herds. Table 1, table 2, table 3, table 4 and table 5 presents the amount of data included in this Interbull evaluation for Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein and Jersey, respectively. Table 6 gives trait definitions as provided by participating countries.

Estimated genetic parameters are shown in APPENDIX I, APPENDIX II, APPENDIX III, APPENDIX IV and APPENDIX V for Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein and Jersey, respectively. Parameters are listed by trait and country.

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 6).

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). Birth year grouping was by 1-5 year periods. Smaller groups (consisting of less than 15 bulls) were combined.

Analysis followed a similar procedure as Mace for production traits. However, parameters used were estimated with the EM-Reml procedure descriped by Klei & Weigel (1998) and a weighted average of Ayrshire and Holstein genetic correlations were used for Ayrshire Mace as recommended by Mark et al. (2003, Interbull Bull 30, 126-135).

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 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.

Next routine international evaluation

The next routine international evaluation for dairy production, udder health and conformation traits is scheduled for May 2004. New data for that run should reach the Interbull Centre not later than April 27, 2004, 17:00 Central European Time (CET); in any case, the most recently received data will be considered. The target time for distribution of results for internal review to designated representatives, who have signed a confidentiality agreement with the Centre, is May 6, 2004. Official release date of the results is targeted to be May 10, 2004.

Next test international evaluation

The next test international evaluation for dairy production, conformation, and udder health traits is scheduled for March 2004. At the same time, the first test run for longevity for the Holstein breed will be performed. Countries wishing to enter the system for the first time or planning to submit new information (modified national evaluation procedure, new breeds etc) for following routine evaluations must have their data tested in this test-run.

Deadline for sending data to the Interbull Centre for the next test-run is March 1, 2004.

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: +46-18-671987 +46-18-671974   +46-18-671955 +46-18-671964 +46-18-671994 +46-18-671976 +46-18-671968