Genetic effects on dairy calf growth

J Dairy Sci. 1989 Jan;72(1):162-6. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(89)79092-5.


Objectives were to establish growth patterns for weight and height in dairy calves from birth to 90 d and to estimate appropriate genetic parameters. Measurements were 7943 body weights and 7005 wither heights of 752 calves. Represented over 12 yr were three breeds, 348 dams, and 115 sires; data resulted from designed calf nutrition experiments. Sources of variation considered in various least squares analyses of variance were breed, sire in breed, calf in sire in breed, sex of calf, treatment-year category, and several interactions. Repeatabilities of weights and heights between birth and 90 d were .64 and .88; heritabilities were .22 and .30; genetic and phenotypic correlations were .53 and .73. A regression equation was estimated for each calf. From these 752 equations, heritabilities of initial weight, initial height, and rates of growth in weight and height were .53, .50, .44, and .19. Genetic correlations were .81; -.07; -.05; .26; .14; .84. Selection schemes for these traits in dairy cattle should consider that although weights and heights at birth and thereafter are highly and positively correlated genetically, as are gains, birth measurements and gains to 90 d may be uncorrelated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight*
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Cattle / growth & development*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Species Specificity