Interbull Routine Genetic Evaluation for Production Traits

April 2014



The latest international evaluation for dairy production traits took place as scheduled at the Interbull Centre. Data from thirty one (30) countries were included in this evaluation.

International genetic evaluations for milk, fat and protein yields of bulls from Australia, Austria-Germany, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark-Finland-Sweden, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia,Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Republic of South Africa, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Portugal, Korea, Argentina and Urugay were computed. Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey, Red Dairy Cattle and Simmental breed data were included in this evaluation.

Changes in national procedures

Changes in the national genetic evaluation of calving traits are as follows:

ZAF JER  Data from some of the herds participating in the ARC Milk Recording System has been included in this Evaluation.
GBR SIM  Participtes for the first time for production.
NOR RDC  Introduced their animal model evaluations for mil, fat, pro, scs have undergone some minor changes.The pedigree file have been further incorporated with the  new version of the herd recording system. Cows sired by a known farmbull no longer get a genetic group as sire, but a proper farmbull-id that points to her actual paternal grandparents. Some cows have been joined.
Changed our genetic base by moving one year ahead for production for cows born between 2007 and 2011 
ITA HOL Currently, cows calving before January 1998 are deleted. Base change
ITA BSW Some sire have lost some daughters for the wrong parentage verification
Base change


1)   Data submission for pedigree, EBV/PTA, and parameters is possible only through uploading of the data to the Interbull Data Exchange Area (IDEA);
2)   Interbull Centre has moved to a completely new MACE evaluation software called "Dairy System for International Evaluation (DAISIE)", partly because of the extended use of IDEA for EBV/PTA, and partly because of our continuous efforts to make the system more effective than before;
3)   All trait groups (including conformation traits) are now evaluated in-house.
4)   The file containing heritability values now contain more decimal places for heritability, and one extra field for the definition of reference base population;
5)   The file containing genetic correlations has changed name from rG_columns_all to cor{RUNID}.csv, and also contains one extra field for the number of common bulls;
6)   The file containing sire genetic standard deviations has changed name from sire_std_columns_all to std{RUNID}.csv;
7)   Sire-MGS based pedigree files are not distributed anymore;
8)   Parent averages in the "ipa" format are not distributed anymore;
9)   An import AI bull (type of proof = 21) with official publication status 'Y' from a given country is included in the distribution file if the bull has a first country proof included from a different country OR a second country proof is included with minimum required number of daughters or EDC (20, 10, 150, 20, 20, and 80) and herds (20, 10, 150, 20, 20, and 80) for different breeds (BSW, GUE, HOL, JER, RDC and SIM), respectively;
10)   Bulls with some missing pedigree information (sires and/or dam and/or birthdate) are excluded from evaluations;
11)   Standardization factors are not used anymore;
12)   Post-processing of genetic correlation are now applied to all trait groups.

Data and method of analysis

Data were national genetic evaluations of AI sampled bulls with at least 10 daughters or 10 EDC (for clinical mastitis and maternal calving traits at least 50 daughters or 50 EDC, and for direct calving traits at least 50 calvings or 50 EDC) in at least 10 herds. Table 1 presents the amount of data included in this Interbull evaluation for all breeds. 

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.

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

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

Time edits

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

International reliability estimation

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


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 August 2014. 
Deadline for sending data to the Interbull Centre is Tuesday August 22, 2014, 17:00 CET; confidential distribution of results is targeted for Thursday July 31, 2014, with earliest possible official release of results on August 12, 2014.
 Please remark the three week turn around time.

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 2014. 
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 2, 2014, 17:00 CET.


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