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Advances in dairy cattle breeding to improve longevity

Code: 9781786765635
Roel Veerkamp, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands; and Mathijs van Pelt, CRV Cooperation, The Netherlands

Chapter synopsis: Improving longevity of dairy cows has long been of economic interest. There is also a societal interest in improving longevity and evidence suggests it is an important factor in mitigating greenhouse gases. Longevity is a complex trait to record and to improve genetically, despite considerable genetic variation being present. In most cases the farmer decides to cull a cow, and it is often for a number of reasons. Also, for animal breeders it takes too long for daughters of a bull to be culled before bull selection can take place. This chapter looks at recent advances in dairy cattle breeding to improve longevity. The importance and challenges of phenotype longevity are first explored followed by sections on the genetics of longevity and selection of animals before lifespan is known. Genetic evaluation and selection for longevity are then discussed. The chapter concludes with a case study on breeding of dairy cattle for productive lifespan in the Netherlands.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2019.0058.17
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Genetics of longevity 3 Selection before lifespan is known 4 Genetic evaluation 5 Selection for longevity 6 Case study: breeding for productive lifespan in the Netherlands 7 Summary and future trends 8 Where to look for further information 9 References

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