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Animal Breeding and Genetics
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2011;24(8): 1031-1040.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2011.10401    Published online June 21, 2011.
Factors Influencing Genetic Change for Milk Yield within Farms in Central Thailand
M. Sarakul, S. Koonawootrittriron, M. A. Elzo, T. Suwanasopee
The objective of this study was to characterize factors influencing genetic improvement of dairy cattle for milk production at farm level. Data were accumulated from 305-day milk yields and pedigree information from 1,921 first-lactation dairy cows that calved from 1990 to 2007 on 161 farms in Central Thailand. Variance components were estimated using average information restricted maximum likelihood procedures. Animal breeding values were predicted by an animal model that contained herd-year-season, calving age, and regression additive genetic group as fixed effects, and cow and residual as random effects. Estimated breeding values from cows that calved in a particular month were used to estimate genetic trends for each individual farm. Within-farm genetic trends (b, regression coefficient of farm milk production per month) were used to classify farms into 3 groups: i) farms with negative genetic trend (b<-0.5 kg/mo), ii) farms with no genetic trend (-0.5 kg/mob0.5 kg/mo), and iii) farms with positive genetic trend (b>0.5 kg/mo). Questionnaires were used to gather information from individual farmers on educational background, herd characteristics, farm management, decision making practices, and opinion on dairy farming. Farmer’s responses to the questionnaire were used to test the association between these factors and farm groups using Fisher’s exact test. Estimated genetic trend for the complete population was 0.291.02 kg/year for cows. At farm level, most farms (40%) had positive genetic trend (0.634.67 to 230.79166.63 kg/mo) followed by farms with negative genetic trend (35%; -173.6839.63 to -0.622.57 kg/mo) and those with no genetic trend (25%; -0.523.52 to 0.552.68 kg/mo). Except for educational background (p<0.05), all other factors were not significantly associated with farm group.
Keywords: Tropic; Dairy Cattle; Dairy Farmer; Selection; Breeding
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