Interbull Routine Genetic Evaluation for Udder Health Traits

August 2008


International genetic evaluations for milk somatic cell and clinical mastitis of bulls from Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, The United States of America, Israel, Italy, Australia, Hungary, Belgium, Japan, Spain, Rep. South Africa New Zealand and Ireland were computed in this evaluation. Red Dairy Cattle, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey and Simmental breed data were included.

Changes in national data

AUS ALL Changed procedure in computing EDC
USA RDC Submitted evaluations for Milking Shorthorn bulls.
NZL HOL JER Developed a new program to produce Interbull files. Crossbred animals having the same number of 16ths for two breeds were assigned to the breed of their sire.
NOR ALL  Introduced a new criterion to set official status of proofs.
CZE HOL SIM Overall EBV computed as an average of EBV for lactation 1, 2 and 3, regardless the number of daughters per lactation (previously it was required a minimum of 20 daughters). Number of age classes (lactation 1) and calving interval classes (subsequent lactations) is increased to 15 and 12, respectively. Base for relative breeding value is determined by animals born in 1995. Test day records for SCC are excluded if less than 80% of samples within the same HTD have an analysis for SCC. Natural service sires are excluded.
CAN ALL Change in indication of official publication of proofs. Current requirement for 'Y' is at least 10 herds. Minor changes in the way CG are assigned.

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. For clinical mastitis information to be included, an additional requirement was that bulls had to have at least 50 daughters. Table 1 presents the amount of data included in this Interbull evaluation. Table 2, table 3 and table 4 gives heritabilities and some additional information on national evaluations as provided by the participating countries.

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

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 2 and table 3).

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 30 bulls) were combined.

International genetic evaluations were computed using effective daughter contributions (EDC) as weighting factors.

For each breed, two separate international genetic evaluations were computed. The first included milk somatic cell de-regressed proofs from individual countries. The second included de-regressed proofs for clinical mastitis as a direct trait from countries that made this information available and milk somatic cell deregressed proofs from all other countries. Note that the second evaluation was not carried out for BSW and GUE since none of the participating countries provided clinical mastitis information.

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".

Genetic correlation estimation procedure


Next routine international evaluation

The next routine international evaluation for dairy production, udder health conformation, longevity,calving traits (BSW, Holstein, RDC) and female fertility is scheduled for January 2009. New data for the January routine run should reach the Interbull Centre not later than Tuesday December 9, 2008, 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 Thursday January 8, 2008. Official release date of the results is targeted to be Tuesday January 13, 2009.

Next test international evaluation

The next test international evaluation for dairy production, conformation, udder health, longevity and calving traits (Red dairy cattle breeds, Brown Swiss, Holstein) and female fertility traits is scheduled for September 2008. 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 and validation results to the Interbull Centre for the September 2008 test run is September 9, 2008 at 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 has 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: +46-18-671974   +46-18-671955 +46-18-672438 +46-18-671964   +46-18-671975 +46-18-671976 +46-18-671968

Please use for all communication regarding Interbull services.