Genetic and environmental relationships among milk yield, persistency of milk yield, somatic cell count and calving interval in Holstein cows


  • Arash Chegini University of Guilan
  • Abdol Ahad Shadparvar University of Guilan
  • Navid Ghavi Hossein-Zadeh University of Guilan
  • Behrooz Mohammad-Nazari Animal Breeding Center



breeding goal, correlation, fertility, heritability, Wood’s gamma function


Background: Fertility and health traits, other than production traits, have a major role in the profitability of dairy cattle. Therefore, it seems necessary to include the afore mentioned traits in breeding programs. Hence, genetic parameters are needed to establish breeding plans. Objective: To estimate heritabilities as well as genetic and environmental relationships among total milk yield (TMY), persistency of milk yield (PMY), mean somatic cell count (SCC), mean loge somatic cell count (LnSCC), standard deviation of somatic cell count (stdSCC), and calving interval (CI) using two-trait and multi-trait analyses in Iranian Holstein. Methods: The dataset consisted of 25,883 first lactation records collected from 2002 to 2007 in 97 Holstein dairy herds in Iran. Four criteria of persistency of milk yield (PMY) were calculated using the Wood's gamma function. The WOMBAT1.0 software was used to estimate the (co)variance components using the Average Information Restricted Maximum Likelihood algorithm. Results: Total milk yield (TMY) resulted in the highest heritability estimate (0.29). Heritability estimates for different criteria of persistency of milk yield (PMY) ranged from 0.05 to 0.10. The unfavorable genetic correlation between TMY and calving interval (CI) was 0.71, while that of PMY with CI was 0.46. The estimated environmental correlations were lower than the genetic correlations for all traits, but the trends were generally similar. Conclusion: The results indicate that including PMY in the breeding goals could increase TMY and CI, and decrease somatic cell count (SCC).

= 371 veces | PDF
= 249 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Arash Chegini, 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.

Navid Ghavi Hossein-Zadeh, University of Guilan

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

Behrooz Mohammad-Nazari, Animal Breeding Center

MSc., Animal Breeding Center, Karaj, Iran.


Afifi YA. Genetical and some environmental influences affecting the level of leucocyte counts in the milk of cows. Meded. Landbouwhogesch. Wageningen 1967; 67:11.

Ali AKA, Shook GE. Heritability and repeatability of somatic cell concentration in milk. J Dairy Sci 1980; 63 Suppl 1: 100.

Bakir G, Kaygisiz A. Milk yield characteristics of Holstein cows and the effect of calving month on milk yield. KSU J Nat Sci 2013; 16(1):1–7.

Dekkers JCM, Ten Haag JH, Weersink A. Economic aspects of persistency of lactation in dairy cattle. Livest Prod Sci 1998; 53:237–252.

Dematawewa CMB, Berger PJ. Genetic and phenotypic parameters for 305-day yield, fertility and survival in Holsteins. J Dairy Sci 1998; 81:2700–2709.

Dong MC, Van Vleck LD. Correlations among first and second lactation milk yield and calving interval. J Dairy Sci 1989; 72:1933–1936.

Gengler N. Persistency of lactation yields: A review. Proceeding of the international workshop on genetic improvement of functional traits in cattle, Gembloux, Belgium. Interbull Bulletin 1996; 12:87–95.

Ghavi Hossein-Zadeh N, Ardalan M. Estimation of genetic parameters for milk urea nitrogen and its relationship with milk constituents in Iranian Holsteins. Livest Sci 2011; 135:274–281.

Haile-Mariam M, Bowman PJ, Goddard ME. Genetic and environmental correlations between test-day somatic cell count and milk yield traits. Livest Prod Sci 2001; 73:1–13.

Haile-Mariam M, Bowman PJ, Goddard ME. Genetic and environmental relationship among calving interval, survival, persistency of milk yield and somatic cell count in dairy cattle. Livest Prod Sci 2003; 80:189–200.

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.

Kaygisiz A. Estimation of genetic parameters and breedıng values for dairy cattle using test-day milk yield records. J Anim Plant Sci 2013; 23(2):345–349.

Kennedy BW, Sethar MS, Moxley JE. Heritability of somatic cell count and its relationship with milk yield and composition in Holsteins. J Dairy Sci 1982; 65:843–847.

Lean IJ, Galland JC, Scott JL. Relationships between fertility, peak milk yields and lactational persistency in dairy cows. Theriogenology 1989; 31:1093–1103.

Lucy MC. Fertility in high-producing dairy cows: reasons for decline and corrective strategies for sustainable improvement. Society for reproduction and fertility supplement 2007; 64:237–254.

Mathworks. 2008. MATLAB – The Language of Technical Computing – Getting Started with MATLAB Version 7.7.1. The MathWorks, Natick, MA.Meyer K. 2007.

WOMBAT version 1.0 User notes. Univ. New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia.

Muir BL, Fatehi J, Schaeffer LR. Genetic relationships between persistency and reproductive performance in first-lactation Canadian Holsteins. J Dairy Sci 2004; 87:3029–3037.

Ojango JMK, Pollot GE. Genetics of milk yield and fertility traits in Holstein-Friesian cattle on large-scale Kenyan farms. J Animal Sci 2001; 79:1742–1750.

Österman S, Östensson K, Svennersten-Sjaunja K, Bertilsson J. How does extended lactation in combination with different milking frequencies effect somatic cell counts in dairy cows? Livest Prod Sci 2005; 96:225–232.

Reents R, Jamrozik J, Schaeffer LR, Dekkers JCM. Estimation of genetic parameters for test day records of somatic cell score. J Dairy Sci 1995; 78:2847–2857.

Rekaya R, Carabano MJ, Toro MA. Bayesian analysis of lactation curves of Holstein-Friesian cattle. J Dairy Sci 2000; 83:2691–2701.

Rekik B, Ajili N, Belhani H, Ben Gara A, Rouissi H. Effect of somatic cell count on milk and protein yields and female fertility in Tunisian Holstein dairy cows. Livest Sci 2008; 116:309–317.

Sahebhonar M. Estimation of genetic trends for production traits and specification of some effective factors on these trends in Iranian Holsteins. MSc, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran, 2007.

Schaeffer LR. Sire and cow evaluation under multiple trait models. J Dairy Sci 1984; 67:1567–1580.

Seyed Sharifi R, Eskandari Nasab MP, Amanloo H, Fathi Achachloie B. The study of correlation among different persistency measures using random regression model in Iranian Holstein cows. J Sci and Tech 2006; 5:83–92 (article in Persian with an English abstract).

Solkner J, Fuchs WA. Comparison of different measures of persistency with special respect to variation of test-day milk yields. Livest Prod Sci 1987; 16:305–319.

Swalve HH. Genetic relationship between dairy lactation persistency and yield. J Anim Breed Genet 1995; 112:303–311.

Swalve HH, Gengler N. Genetics of lactation persistency. Occasional. Publication. British Society of Animal Sci 1999; 24:75–82.

Tekerli M, Akinci Z, Dogan I, Akcan A. Factors affecting the shape of lactation curves of Holstein cows from the Balikesir province of Turkey. J Dairy Sci 2000; 83:1381–1386.

Thompson R, Meyer K. A review of theoretical aspects in the estimation of breeding values for multi-trait selection. Livest Prod Sci 1986; 15:299–313.

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.

Weller JI, Ezra E, Leitner G. Genetic analysis of persistency in the Israeli Holstein population by the multitrait animal model. J Dairy Sci2006; 89:2738–2746.

Weller JI, Folman Y. Effects of calf value and reproductive management on optimum days to first breeding. J Dairy Sci1990; 73:1318–1326.

Wood PDP. Algebraic model of the lactation curve in cattle. Nature (Lond.) 1967; 216:164–165.




How to Cite

Chegini, A., Shadparvar, A. A., Hossein-Zadeh, N. G., & Mohammad-Nazari, B. (2019). Genetic and environmental relationships among milk yield, persistency of milk yield, somatic cell count and calving interval in Holstein cows. Revista Colombiana De Ciencias Pecuarias, 32(2), 81–89.



Original research articles

Similar Articles

> >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.