Herd records from 76,357 cows, collected during the 2005/06 to 2008/09 milking seasons from 155 herds in the Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) young sire progeny test scheme, were used to estimate genetic parameters and breed effects for incidence of recorded clinical lameness (RCL) in Holstein-Friesian, Jersey and crossbred dairy cattle. RCL was coded "1" for cows that presented at least one event of RCL at any day during the season and "0" for cows without RCL. Genetic parameters were estimated with a repeatability animal model across breeds. The average incidence of RCL per herd was 6.3% and ranged from 2% to 34%. Jersey cows had significantly (P <0.05) lower incidence (6.0%) than Friesian cows (6.8%) but similar to crossbred cows (6.1%). The heritability estimate for incidence of RCL was 0.016 ± 0.003 (standard error) while the repeatability was 0.071 ± 0.005. Sire estimated breeding values for RCL ranged between -5 and 8% with Jersey sires showing the lowest values. These results suggest that selection for resistance to lameness will result in a low rate of genetic gain but using Jersey sires can be an alternative to increase genetic resistance to lameness in New Zealand dairy cattle.

AR, Chawala, N Lopez-Villalobos, JK Margerison, and RJ Spelman

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 71, Invercargill, 126-130, 2011
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