Genotype by environment interaction for first-lactation female fertility traits in UK dairy cattle

J Dairy Sci. 2009 Jul;92(7):3437-46. doi: 10.3168/jds.2008-1844.


The objective of this study was to examine whether there was genotype by environment interaction (G x E) for female fertility traits for various environmental descriptors used in the United Kingdom. Records on days to first service (DFS), nonreturn rate at 56 d (NR56), calving interval (CI), and number of inseminations (NINS) on approximately 200,000 first-lactation Holstein cows in 3,192 herds and from 1,147 sires were analyzed using both random regression reaction norm models and multiple-trait models. The environmental descriptors were herd averages of DFS, CI, and NR56, and herd production and intensity indices, the latter based on 305-d milk, fat, and protein yields, age at first calving, temperature, and rainfall. No GxE was found for NR56 and NINS. There was an indication of G x E for DFS and CI with respect to the herd average of that trait, but only from the reaction norm model. Genotype by environment interaction existed for DFS and CI with respect to both production and intensity indexes-genetic correlations between top and bottom quartiles ranged from 0.73 to 0.84, with similar results from both models, indicating reranking of bulls. Part of this G x E might be explained by low production and intensity herds also having more concentrated spring calving.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / genetics
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Dairying*
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Fertility / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Lactation / physiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • United Kingdom