Free Access
Genet. Sel. Evol.
Volume 33, Number 1, January-February 2001
Page(s) 39 - 59
DOI: 10.1051/gse:2001108

Genet. Sel. Evol. 33 (2001) 39-59

Relationships between type and longevity in the Holstein breed

Hélène Larroque and Vincent Ducrocq

Station de génétique quantitative et appliquée, Institut national de la recherche agronomique, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, France

(Received 18 October 1999; accepted 31 August 2000)

The relationship between type traits and longevity was studied in the French Holstein breed using a survival analysis model. In this model, the phenotypic value adjusted for systematic fixed effects, the estimated breeding value, or the residual value (defined as the difference between the adjusted phenotypic value and the estimated breeding value) of the cow for each type trait was included as a risk factor. This was done separately for two subpopulations (registered and nonregistered herds) and with or without adjustment for production traits, i.e., considering true or functional longevity. For both types of herds, udder traits (and above all, udder depth) clearly influenced the length of productive life. There seemed to be a more pronounced voluntary culling on type traits in registered herds. The correction for the within herd-year class of production traits, as a way to approximate functional longevity, increased the importance of udder traits and decreased the weight of capacity traits. The same results were obtained when the phenotypic value of the cow for type was replaced by her estimated breeding value, whereas residuals had little impact. The relationship between longevity and type traits was most often nonlinear, in particular for udder traits, but in this study, no trait with a clear intermediate optimum was found.


Key words: longevity / type traits / survival analysis / nonlinearity / dairy cattle

Correspondence and reprints: H. Larroque

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2001