In dairy cow populations traits related to longevity are of great interest, because overall profitability strongly depends on the lifetime performances of the cows (costs of replacement, higher milk yields in later lactations). In the past longevity became a problem, because the selection for increasing milk yield influenced the length of productive life in an undesired way. Changes in the environmental conditions of the cows also enforce this trend. Selection for longevity should become more important, but unfortunately precise information about this complex is only available late in the lifetime of the breeding stock. Therefore other traits which may be genetically related to longevity but are available in early selection stages should be used in a regular breeding schemes. Claw and leg quality of young Fleckvieh bulls was shown to have an important influence on longevity of their daughters (Distl 1999). The performance test of young bulls gives the possibility to record these traits in a standardized environment. The objective of the study was to analyse additive genetic variances of claw measures and scores for claw and leg quality traits and the genetic relationships between claw and leg traits on one side with traits related to longevity on the other side in German Holsteins. 

H. Hamann, O. Distl

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 1, , 1.69, 2002
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