Interbull Routine Genetic Evaluation for Udder Health Traits

August 2013 


The latest routine international evaluation for udder traits took place as scheduled at the Interbull Centre. Data from twentysix (26) 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, the United States of America, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Portugal 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:

DFS ALL Some drops in number of daughters for mastitis. Herds are checked to participate in disease recording and sore daughters will later drop out. Some bulls are missing in the current evaluation
as they changed ID. 
CHE RHOL, SIM Some drops in information due to changes in the program used to extract milk production data from the database. Within this program there are now stricter plausibility checks with respect to 
 age at calving not only for newer data but also for older data. 
JPN  HOL Some decrease in number of daughters/herds/EDC due to some cows' pedigree correction.
LVA HOL,RDC Some decrease in number of daughters/herds/EDC due to correction of such information.
BEL HOL Further improvement of herd identification: herds keep their identity even if owner changes. This leads to a slight decrease in number of herds for some bulls. 
CHE HOL Some reduction in number of herds, daughters and EDC due to deletion of dummy herds for imported animals. This also caused a decrease in reliability in some years. Some bulls changed 
 from official to unofficial due to changes in publication rules
IRL HOL Some reduction in number of daughters/herds/EDC due to duplicate IDs corrections, routine changes in the database as well as deletion of some pedigree registered bulls that were sent 
initially but that never had any progeny and have been recorded as being slaughtered, they have been removed from the evaluation.


No changes in Interbull procedures

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.

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 December 2013. Deadline for sending data to the Interbull Centre is Tuesday November 12, 2013, 17:00 CET; confidential distribution of results is targeted for Thursday November 21, 2013, with earliest possible official release of results on December 3, 2013. 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 2013.

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 3, 2013, 17:00 CET.


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.