Interbull Routine Genetic Evaluation for Udder Health Traits

August 2011


The latest test international evaluation for udder traits took place as scheduled at the Interbull Centre. Data from twentytwo (22) countries were included in this evaluation.

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

Changes in national procedures
Changes in the national genetic evaluation of udder health traits are as follows:

ISR (HOL) Based on the results of the 54K Beadchip, we were able to verify paternity for 670 bulls in the Israeli Holstein population. Paternity of bull as listed in the Herdbook was rejected for 24 bulls, based on the criterion of >4.5% discrepancies between the genotype of the bulls and the recorded father.
We were able to determine the correct father for 17 of these bulls, based on the follow criteria:
1. For all of these 17 bulls the frequency of discrepancies between the bulls and the "replacement"
father was > 0.02%. 2.The replacement father was used as a service sire nine months before the birth
of the putative son. We therefore corrected the paternity of these 17 bulls in the Israeli Herdbook.
ITA (HOL,JER) updating some pedigree and ids information.
BEL (HOL) Herd identification was further improved. Herds keep their identity even if owner changes. This leads to a slight decrease in the number of herds for some bulls.
DEU (HOL,RDC,JER) Included also the breeding values of bulls being born before 1986 (HOL)and 1981 (other breeds).
JPN (HOL) Adjusted the iteration method in order to accelerate calculation time. As a result, convergence became better than the last run.We have two convergence criterions that are 3200 rounds and 1.0E-11. A former was selected from alternative criterions in the last run, and a latter was selected in this run
AUS (ALL) base change
IRL (HOL) We made some slight changes to the extraction which resulted in a larger number of bulls having a slight decrease in herds and daughters than normal.
ESP (HOL) some pedigree updates
PRT (HOL) Corrected type of proofs and bulls status, corrected also number of herds for some bulls, it is a very minor change, 1 herd, for a small number of bulls.

Changes in Interbull procedures

No changes in Interbull proceduresh

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.

Table 2 presents the date of evaluation as supplied by each country in the 01x-proof file.

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

Ancestor-bulls without own proofs were traced as far back as possible 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 

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 "Public Area/Publications/Guidelines/Interbull Advertising Guidelines".

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 December 2011. Deadline for sending data to the Interbull Centre is Tuesday November 22, 2011, 17:00 CET; confidential distribution of results is targeted for Thursday December 1, 2011, with earliest possible official release of results on December 6, 2011.

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 2011.

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 6, 2011, 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 : +46-18-671994 +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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