Genetic evaluation of dystocia and its relationship with productive and reproductive traits in Holstein cows

  • Mohammad Hossein Salimi University of Guilan
  • Navid Ghavi Hossein-Zadeh University of Guilan
  • Abdol Ahad Shadparvar University of Guilan
  • Ali Reza Eghbal Animal Breeding Center of Iran
Keywords: calving difficulty, dairy cow, genetic correlation, genetic parameters, productive performance


Background: dystocia is one of the most economically significant secondary traits in dairy cows and has adverse effects on the subsequent survival, health, and performance of mothers and offspring. Objective: the aim of this study was to estimate direct and maternal genetic parameters for calving ease (CE) and its relationship with productive and reproductive traits in Iranian Holstein cows. Methods: data from 1991 through 2011 were collected from the Animal Breeding Center of Iran, and contained 132,831 records of CE, 183,203 records of productive traits including 305-d adjusted milk yield (MY305), 305-d adjusted fat yield (FY305) and 305-d adjusted protein yield (PY305), and 129,199 records of reproductive traits including days open (DO), days to first service (DFS) and calving interval (CI). Univariate and bivariate linear animal models were used for the analysis of traits in two different models on which direct genetic effect (model 1) and direct + maternal genetic effects (model 2) using AI-REML algorithm were included. Results: estimated heritabilities for CE in model 1 were 0.02 in univariate and 0.02-0.03 in bivariate analyses. Direct and maternal heritabilities in model 2 were 0.02 and 0.002 for univariate, and 0.03 and 0.0004-0.006 in bivariate analyses, respectively. Genetic correlations between direct effects of CE with MY305, FY305, and PY305 were -0.99, 0.02 and -0.07 in model 1, and -0.2, -0.02 and -0.13 in model 2, respectively. Conclusion: this study suggested that a selection index that includes both direct and maternal effects should be included in CE breeding programs.

, rendimiento productivo, aca lechera.



Palavras chave: correlação genética, desempenho produtivo, dificuldade de parto, parâmetros genéticos, vaca de leiteria.

= 66 veces | PDF
= 60 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Mohammad Hossein Salimi, University of Guilan

MSc., Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran.

Navid Ghavi Hossein-Zadeh, University of Guilan

PhD., Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran.

Abdol Ahad Shadparvar, University of Guilan

PhD., Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran.

Ali Reza Eghbal, Animal Breeding Center of Iran

MSc., Animal Breeding Center of Iran, Karaj, Iran.


Abdullahpour R, Moradi-Shahrebabak M, Mehrabani-Yeganeh H, Sayadnejad M, Eghbal A. Genetic analysis of dystocia in Holsteincattle of Iran by threshold and linear models. Proceedings of the 8th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production,Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil 22-24, 2006.

Albera A, Groen AF, Carnier P. Genetic relationships between calving performance and beef production traits in Piemontese cattle. J Anim Sci 2004; 82:3440-3446.

Alday S, Ugarte E. Genetic evaluation of calving ease in Spanish Holstein population. Interbull Bull 1997;18:21-24.

Andersen Ranberg IM, Klemetsdal G, Heringstad B, Steine T. Heritabilities, genetic correlations and genetic change for female fertility and protein yield in Norwegian dairy cattle. J Dairy Sci 2005; 88:348-355.

Barrier AC, Haskell MJ. Calving difficulty in dairy cows has a longer effect on saleable milk yield than on estimated milk production. J Dairy Sci 2001; 94:1804-1812.

Carnier P, Albera A, Dal Zotta R, Groen AF, Bona M, Bittante G. Genetic parameters for direct and maternal calving ability over parities in Piedmontese cattle. J Anim Sci 2000; 78:2532-2539.

Dematawewa CMB, Berger PJ. Effect of dystocia on yield,fertility, and cow losses and an economic evaluation of dystocia scores for Holsteins. J Dairy Sci 1997; 80:154-761.

Eaglen SAE, Bijma P. Genetic parameters of direct and maternal effects for calving ease in Dutch Holstein-Friesian cattle. J Dairy Sci 2009; 92:2229-2237.

Eaglen SAE, Coffey MP, Woolliams JA, Mrode R, Wall E. Phenotypic effects of calving ease on the subsequent fertility and milk production of dam and calf in UK Holstein-Friesian heifers. J Dairy Sci 2011; 94:5413-5423.

Eghbalsaied S, Abdullahpour R, Honarvar M. Genetic evaluationfor calving ease trait using linear and threshold models in first parity dairy cows. Afr J Agric Res 2012; 7(9):1395-1399.

Eriksson S, Näsholm A, Johansson K, Philipsson J. Geneticparameters for calving difficulty, stillbirth, and birth weight for Hereford and Charolais at first and later parities. J Anim Sci 2004; 82:375-383.

Ghavi Hossein Zadeh N, Ardalan M. Genetic relationship betweenmilk urea nitrogen and reproductive performance in Holstein dairy cows. Animal 2010; 5:26-32.

Ghavi Hossein Zadeh N. Genetic parameters and trends for calving interval in the first three lactations of Iranian Holsteins. Trop Anim Health Prod 2011; 43:1111-1115.

Ghiasi H, Pakdel A, Nejati Javaremi A, Mehrabani Yeganeh H, Honarvar M, Gonzalez Recio O, Carabano MJ, Alenda R. Geneticvariance components for female fertility in Iranian Holstein cows. Livest Sci 2011; 139(3):277-280.

Ghorbani A, Salamatdoust Nobar R, Mehman Navaz U, Gyasi J, Agdam Shahryar H, Nazer Adl K. Heritability and repeatability estimation in Iranian Brown Swiss crossbred dairy cattle population. Int J Anim Vet Adv 2011; 3(4):235-237.

González Recio O, Alenda R, Chang YM, Weigel KA, Gianola D. Selection for female fertility using censored fertility traits and investigation of the relationship with milk production. J Dairy Sci 2006; 89:4438-4444.

González Recio O, Alenda R. Genetic parameters for female fertility traits and a fertility index in Spanish dairy cattle. J Dairy Sci 2005; 88:3282-3289.

Gredler B, Fuerst C, Solkner J. Analysis of new fertility traits for the joint genetic evaluation in Austria and Germany. Interbull Bull 2007; 37:152-155.

Gutiérrez JP, Goyache F, Fernández I, Álvarez I, Royo LJ. Genetic relationships among calving ease, calving interval, birth weight, and weaning weight in the Asturiana de los Valles beef cattle breed. J Anim Sci 2007; 85:69-75.

Hansen M, Lund MS, Pedersen J, Christensen LG. Gestation length in Danish Holstein has week genetic associations with stillbirth, calving difficulty, and calf size. Livest Prod Sci 2004; 93:23-33.

Ilatsia ED, Muasya TK, Muhuyi WB, Kahi AK. Genetic and phenotypic parameters and annual trends for milk production and fertility traits of the Sahiwal cattle in semiarid Kenya. Trop Anim Health Prod 2007; 39:37-48.

Interbull. Interbull guidelines for national and international genetic evaluation systems in dairy cattle with focus on production traits. Interbull Bull 2001; 28.

Jamrozik J, Fatehi J, Kistemaker GJ, Schaeffer LR. Estimates of genetic parameters for Canadian Holstein female reproductive traits. J Dairy Sci 2005; 88:2199-2208.

Kadarmideen HN, Thompson R, Coffey MP, Kossaibati MA. Genetic parameters and evaluations from single- and multiple-trait analysis of dairy cow fertility and milk production. Livest Prod Sci 2003; 81:183-195.

Koeck A, Egger Danner C, Fuerst C, Obritzhauser W, Fuerst Walt B. Genetic analysis of reproductive disorders and their relationship to fertility and milk yield in Austrian Fleckvieh dual-purposecows. J Dairy Sci 2010; 93:2185-2194.

Lee DH. Estimation of genetic parameters for calving ease by heifers and cows using multi-trait threshold animal models with Bayesian approach. Asian-Aust J Anim Sci 2002; 15(8):1085-1090.

Lee DH, Han KJ, Park BH. Genetic relationship between milk yields, calving ease and days open at first lactation of Holstein cows in Korea. Interbull Bull 2003; 31:122-129.

Liu Z, Jaitner J, Reinhardt F, Pasman E, Rensing S, Reents R. Genetic evaluation of fertility traits of dairy cattle using a multiple-trait animal model. J Dairy Sci 2008; 91:4333-4343.

Lombard JE, Garry FB, Tomlinson SM, Garber LP. Impacts of dystocia on health and survival of dairy calves. J Dairy Sci 2007; 90:1751-1760.

Lopez de Maturana E, Ugarte E, Komen J, van Arendonk JAM. Consequences of selection for yield traits on calving ease performance. J Dairy Sci 2007; 90:2497-2505.

Luo MF, Boettcher PJ, Schaeffer LR, Dekkers JCM. Estimation of genetic parameters of calving ease in first and second parities of Canadian Holsteins using Bayesian methods. Livest Prod Sci 2002; 74:175-184.

Makgahlela ML, Banga CB, Norris D, Dzama K, Ngambi JW. Genetic analysis of age at first calving and calving interval in South African Holstein cattle. Asian J Anim Vet Adv 2008;3(4):197-205.

Neuenschwander T, Kadarmideen HN, Wegmann S, de Haas Y. Genetics of parity-dependant production increase and its relationship with health, fertility, longevity and conformation in Swiss Holsteins. J Dairy Sci 2005; 88:1540-1551.

Niskanen S, Juga J. Calving difficulties and calf mortality in Finnish cattle population, 1998, Proceedings International Workshop on Genetic Improvement of Functional Traits in Cattle,Grub, Germany, November 1997. Interbull Bull 1998; 18.

SAS. SAS User’s guide v. 9.0: Statistics. SAS Institute, Inc, Cary, NC, USA; 2002.

Sun C, Madsen P, Lund MS, Zhang Y, Nielsen US, Su G. Improvement in genetic evaluation of female fertility in dairy cattle using multiple-trait models including milk production traits. J Anim Sci 2010; 88:871-878.

Tenhagen BA, Helmbold A, Heuwieser W. Effect of variousdegrees of dystocia in dairy cattle on calf viability, milk production, fertility and culling. J Vet Med Series Physiol Pathol Clinic Med 2007; 54:98-102.

Thompson JR, Freeman AE, Berger PJ. Age of dam and maternal effects for dystocia in Holsteins. J Dairy Sci 1981; 64:1603-1609.

Toghiani Pozveh S, Shadparvar AA, Moradi Shahrbabak M, Dadpasand Taromsari M. Genetic analysis of reproduction traits and their relationship with conformation traits in Holstein cows. Livest Sci 2009; 125:84-87.

Wang T, Fernando RI, Kachman DS. MATVEC user’s guide. Department of Biometry, University of Nebraska, Lincoln 2001.

Wiggans GR, Misztal I, Van Tassell CP. Calving ease (co)variancecomponents for a sire-maternal grandsire threshold model. J Dairy Sci 2003; 86:1845-1848.

Zink V, Stípková M, Lassen J. Genetic parameters for female fertility, locomotion, body condition score, and linear type traits in Czech Holstein cattle. J Dairy Sci 2011; 94:5176-5182.

How to Cite
Salimi M. H., Ghavi Hossein-Zadeh N., Shadparvar A. A., & Eghbal A. R. (2017). Genetic evaluation of dystocia and its relationship with productive and reproductive traits in Holstein cows. Revista Colombiana De Ciencias Pecuarias, 30(2), 126-137.
Original research articles