INTERBULL Routine Genetic Evaluation for Dairy Production Traits
The latest routine international evaluation for dairy production traits took place as scheduled at the Interbull Centre. Data from twenty five (25)
countries were included in this evaluation. Results were distributed on May 14, 2001, to designated representatives in the twenty five countries currently subscribing to the service
International genetic evaluations for milk, fat and protein yields of bulls from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Rep. of South Africa, Slovenia,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America were
computed. Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey and Simmental breed data were included in this evaluation.
Changes in the 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 presents the type and amount of data included in this Interbull evaluation. The difference between "No. Records" and "No. Bulls" is explained by common bulls with proofs in more than one country. The entry "Publishable Proofs" reflects bulls whose international evaluations were distributed to service customers. The difference between "No. Bulls" and "Publishable Proofs" is explained by bulls not meeting the minimum criterion for official publication in the country of origin.
Table 2 presents the current definition of the reference (genetic) base as supplied by each country in the dairy-production proof file.
Estimated genetic parameters are shown in APPENDIX I. Parameters are listed by breed, 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. Different breeds were analysed
separately. Heritability estimates used in both the de-regression and
international evaluation were as in each country's national evaluation (Table
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. Small groups (generally consisting of less than 10 bull) were combined.
The international genetic evaluation procedure is based on international work described in the following scientific publications:
1. International genetic evaluation computation
L. Schaeffer. 1994. J. Dairy Sci. 77:2671-2678
W.F. Fikse and G. Banos. 2000. J. Dairy Sci. (submitted)
2. Genetic trend validation
D. Boichard et al. 1995 J. Dairy Sci. 78:431-437
3. De-regression and genetic parameter estimation
A. Sigurdsson and G. Banos. 1995. Acta Agric. Scand. 45:207-219
A. Sigurdsson et al. 1996. Acta Agric. Scand. 46:129-136
L. Jairath et al. 1998. J. Dairy Sci. Vol. 81:550-562
P.G. Sullivan. 1999. Interbull Bulletin 22:146-148.
4. Time edits
K. Weigel and G. Banos. 1997. J. Dairy Sci. 80:3425-3430
5. International reliability estimation
B. Harris and D. Johnson. 1998. Interbull Bulletin 17:31-36
Genetic correlation estimation procedure
Estimation of genetic correlations among countries takes place in test-runs only, when
new or modified data are submitted from a country, according to the following procedure
(as per Interbull technical workshop of April 1995, Uppsala, Sweden):
Several subsets of countries are analysed. At the most 10 countries at a time are included in each subset. Countries that are major link contributors (judged from the number and origin of common bulls with multiple national evaluations) are always included in these subsets. If multiple genetic correlation estimates are computed for a country pair, the highest estimate is kept, as per Sigurdsson et al (1996) showing that genetic correlations may be under-estimated but not over-estimated by the method used.
In some cases sufficient links between countries may be missing, resulting in close to zero genetic correlation estimates. If no reasonable correlations can be estimated via indirect links with third countries, one of the following procedures is followed:
a) Estimates from another breed for the country pair are used, if applicableb) Product moment correlations of common bulls, adjusted for national evaluation accuracy are used (not a very frequent practice, since presence of common bulls will likely result in reasonable correlation estimates using the approximate REML method of Sigurdsson et al)
c) Estimates from the low end of the correlation distribution are assigned; these would normally range from .86 to .89 between two North Hemisphere countries and from .75 to .78 between a North and a South Hemisphere country; the model of national evaluation is also taken into consideration (countries with similar national evaluation models are assigned higher genetic correlation estimates)
APPENDIX I indicates estimates from Step 2c of the
Efforts to improve the procedure are currently under way. The use of covariance
structure of models that include genetic and non-genetic (eg, national evaluation model,
management practice etc) components in determining correlation estimates between weakly or
non-linked countries/populations is being studied.
If a country is not linked to the other countries in the evaluation system, its data
are not included in the international genetic evaluation.
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 (http://www.interbull.org) under "General information".
Use of INTERBULL evaluations in various countries
Updated information on national policies regarding use of Interbull
evaluations in countries participating with data and release dates of
national and Interbull evaluation results in various countries, is
available on the Interbull homepage (http://www.interbull.org).
Since all data are now becoming available, conversions are not as useful as before. When an international proof is available, customers of the service are encouraged to use this instead of a converted proof. Conversion coefficients were, however, computed from international evaluation results and may be considered "Estimated Interbull Conversions" for the interim until the next international evaluation run.
Next routine international evaluation
The next routine international evaluation for dairy production, conformation,
and udder health traits is scheduled for August 2001. New data for that run should reach the Interbull Centre not later than August 3, 2001, 17:00
Central European Time (CET); in any case, the most recently received data will be considered. Results will be distributed on August 13, 2001.
Next test international evaluation
The next test international evaluation for dairy production traits, conformation traits, and milk somatic cell and clinical mastitis is
scheduled for September 2001. 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 September 1, 2001.
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;