The objectives of this study were to estimate genetic parameters for body weight (BW) and BW change (BWC) and genetic correlations of BW and BWC with diseases and genomic predicted transmitting abilities (PTA) of productive and conformation traits of Holsteins during the first 120 DIM. Daily BW data were from the Afiweigh cow body weighing system (SAE Afikim, Kibbutz Afikim, Israel), which records BW as a cow exits the milking parlor. Disease categories included metabolic diseases, ketosis, infectious diseases, mastitis, reproductive diseases, and other diseases. Edited data included 68,914 and 11,615 daily BW observations from 441 Pennsylvania State University and 72 Virginia Tech Holstein cows, respectively. Two-trait random regression models were used to estimate relationships between BW, BWC, and diseases at 25, 38, and 58 mo of age at calving. Fixed effects for BW were age at calving nested within lactation group, week of lactation, and herd date; random effects for BW included animal, permanent environment, and error. Fixed effects for disease were herd-year-season of calving and age at calving nested within lactation group; random effects for disease were animal, permanent environment (for mastitis only), and error. Correlations of PTA for BW and BWC with genomic PTA for productive and type traits were also estimated with data from 117 cows. Heritability estimates for daily BW ranged from 0.34 to 0.63. Greater BW and less BWC were favorably correlated with ketosis, metabolic diseases, infectious diseases, and other diseases. The genetic correlation estimate between BW and ketosis was strongest at 60 DIM (-0.51), and genetic correlation estimates at 60 DIM with metabolic diseases (-0.52), infectious diseases (-0.81), and other diseases (-0.48) followed the same trend as ketosis. The genetic correlation estimate between BWC and ketosis was strongest for the change from 5 to 20 DIM (0.70) and was similar for metabolic diseases (0.37), infectious diseases (0.74), and other diseases (0.49). Correlations of BW and BWC with reproductive diseases tended to be in the reverse direction of those reported for ketosis. A larger PTA for BW was significantly correlated with smaller genomic PTA for milk yield, dairy form, rear udder height, and udder cleft. Predicted transmitting ability for BWC was negatively correlated with genomic PTA for protein percentage, strength, and hip width (ranging from -0.26 to -0.13 across lactation) and was positively correlated with dairy form, rear udder height, and udder cleft (ranging from 0.20 to 0.37 across lactation). Selection for reduced BW loss can be implemented with automated body weighing systems and may be successful in decreasing disease incidence in the early stages of lactation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology