The objectives of this study were to estimate genetic correlations among body condition scores (BCS) from various sources, dairy form, and measures of cow health. Body condition score and dairy form evaluated during routine type appraisal was obtained from the Holstein Association USA, Inc. A second set of BCS was obtained from Dairy Records Managements Systems (DRMS) and was recorded by producers that use PCDART dairy management software. Disease observations were obtained from recorded veterinarian treatments in several dairy herds in the United States. Estimated breeding values for diseases in Denmark were also obtained. Genetic correlations among BCS, dairy form, and cow health traits in the United States were generated with sire models. Models included fixed effects for age, DIM, and contemporary group. Random effects included sire, permanent environment, herd-year season for health traits, and error. Predicted transmitting abilities (PTA) for BCS and dairy form were correlated with estimated breeding values for disease in Denmark. The genetic correlation estimate between BCS from DRMS and BCS from the Holstein Association USA, Inc., was 0.85. The genetic correlation estimate between BCS and a composite of all diseases in the United States was -0.79, and PTA for BCS was favorably correlated with an index of resistance to disease other than mastitis in Denmark (0.27). Dairy form was positively correlated with a composite of all diseases in the United States (0.85) and was unfavorably correlated with an index for resistance to disease other than mastitis in Denmark (-0.29). Adjustment for protein yield PTA had a minimal affect on correlations between PTA for BCS or dairy form and disease in Denmark. Selection for higher body condition or lower dairy form with continued selection for yield may slow deterioration in cow health as a correlated response to selection for increased yield.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology