The objective of this study was to estimate the heritability (h2) of milk urea (MU) and the efficiency of crude protein utilization (ECPU) in grazing dairy cows. Data consisted of 1,866 herd-test records for MU and ECPU from 380 cows. Genetic parameters for traits were estimated using a random regression test-day model (RRM). Herd-test date and parity had a significant effect on MU and ECPU suggesting that improvement of the traits can be made through management practices. Estimates of daily h2 ranged from 0.25 to 0.49 for MU and 0.02 to 0.41 for ECPU. The highest h2 estimates for both traits were found during late lactation. Genetic improvement of MU and ECPU should consider the genetic potential to change the lactation curves of these traits and their correlation with other productive and reproductive traits.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 79, Palmerston North, 183-187, 2019
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