To facilitate efficient selection of breeding animals, breeding organisations estimate and publish estimated breeding values (EBVs) for traits that are of (economic) importance such as milk production and conformation. Several studies (Dempfle, 1986 ; Steverink et al., 1993 ; Spelman and Garrick, 1997) suggested that the use of EBVs for body weight (BW) when making selection decisions may be a potential tool to increase the economic response of selection. These studies indicated that the combined use of EBVs for milk production and BW may increase the economic response of selection up to 4 %. Although some countries such as New Zealand (Ahlborn and Dempfle, 1992) and Finland (Hietanen and Ojala, 1995) already provide breeders with EBVs for BW, knowledge on the possibilities and relevance of selection for BW under Dutch circumstances is limited. To decide on a selection strategy including BW, the Dutch breeding industry initiated studies on the genetic and economic aspects of selection for BW. First, the possibilities of easy and efficient systems for large-scale data recording and genetic evaluation were studied. Secondly, economic value (EVs) for BW were estimated to quantify the effects of genetic changes of BW on the economic efficiency. Finally, alternative selection strategies including EBVs for BW were compared. This paper summarises these studies to outline the possibilities and relevance of a combined selection strategy for BW in dairy cattle in the Netherlands.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 1, , 1.62, 2002
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