Direct and maternal genetic relationships between calving ease, gestation length, milk production, fertility, type, and lifespan of Holstein-Friesian primiparous cows

SAE Eaglen, MP Coffey, JA Woolliams, E Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


As the emphasis in cattle breeding is shifting from traits that increase income toward traits that reduce costs, national breeding indices are expanding to include functional traits such as calving ease (CE). However, one issue is the lack of knowledge of genetic relationships between CE and other dairy traits. The same can be said about gestation length (GL), a potential novel selection trait with considerable heritabilities and possible genetic relationships with the calving process. This study aimed to estimate the genetic relationships between CE, GL, and other dairy traits of interest using a national data set of 31,053 primiparous cow performance records, as well as to separate direct and maternal genetic effects. Chosen dairy traits included fertility (calving interval, days to first service, nonreturn rate after 56 d, number of inseminations per conception), milk production (milk yield at d 110 in milk, accumulated 305-d milk yield, accumulated 305-d fat yield, accumulated 305-d protein yield), type (udder depth, chest width, rump width, rump angle, mammary composition, stature, body depth), and lifespan traits (functional days of productive life).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4015 - 4025
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Early online date30 Mar 2013
Publication statusPrint publication - Jun 2013



  • Calving ease
  • Genetic correlation
  • Gestation length
  • Milk production

Cite this