Bias of Calf Sex on Milk Yield and Fat Yield in Holstein Crossbreed Cows

Animals (Basel). 2021 Aug 29;11(9):2536. doi: 10.3390/ani11092536.


In order to examine the biased milk production depending on the sex of calves, data on calving and milk yield characteristics of 15,181 Holstein type cows in PK Belgrade, Serbia were analyzed. A total of 30,362 lactations that were realized in the period from 1985 to 2017 were analyzed. Data were prepared and analyzed using the SAS software package (SAS Institute Inc. Software License 9.3, 2012). The expression and variability of investigated traits were determined using the PROC MEANS procedure, while the effect of individual factors on milk yield traits was analyzed using the PROC GLM procedure. Obtained results deviate from the views of the Trivers-Willard (TW) hypothesis. The results indicate that mothers invest more in female offspring by producing a higher milk and fat yield in the first and second lactation compared to male offspring. This is especially emphasized under better environmental conditions. The highest milk yield (7788 kg) and fat yield (271 kg) in the second lactation were achieved in the combination with two consecutive female calves in the group of higher-than-average milk production farms, and lowest in the combination of two consecutive male calves (6783 kg for the MY and 243 kg for the FY), respectively.

Keywords: Trivers–Willard hypothesis; calf; dairy cattle; maternal investment; milk traits; sex.