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Present state and demands of breeding programs: dairy cattle

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Authors: R. Alenda, M.J. Carabaño
Issue: 98A-2 (83-101)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: Breeding goal, genetic evaluation, mating

The current status of the breeding scheme for dairy cattle in Spain is described in three sections, breeding goals, genetic evaluations and mating design. The production‑type index, ICO, is the mostly used selection objective in Spain. It is likely that in the near future other indices such as the profit index or sub‑indices directly aimed at improving some of the profitability components are used. Direct selection for profitability is also discussed.
CONAFE, the Friesian Association, provides national evaluations for production and type traits. International evaluations provided by Interbull for those traits are also available in the Spanish scale. Besides the national and international evaluations for production and conformation traits, genetic evaluations for somatic cell score, milking speed and calving difficulty are carried out in a subpopulation of the Friesian breed. The longevity evaluation is expected to be developed in the near future. In this work, current problems and future perspectives of genetic evaluations in dairy cattle are discussed. Test day models are expected to be the method of evaluation for production traits and somatic cell score evaluations, replacing the use of a lactational value, previously used. The use of models that include direct and maternal components of calving difficulty analysed under threshold models is to be expected for this trait. Survival analysis techniques are the preferred method for the genetic evaluation of longevity.
In the last part of this work, the mating strategy at the farm level to produce the replacement heifers and for the artificial insemination centre to produce sires are briefly commented.

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