Derivation of standard lactation curves for South African dairy cows

Author: 
B.E. Mostert, H.E. Theron and F.H.J. Kanfer
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
2
70
77
Year: 
2 003

Standard Lactation Curves were derived for South African Holstein and Jersey cows, using twenty herd -, eighteen age - and six season classes. Six herd classes were below and 13 above the average production level for both breeds. A standard lactation curve was estimated for each combination of herd -, age - and season class, which resulted in 2 160 curves per trait per breed. Variation in Holstein yields were much larger than those of Jerseys, causing different herd classes to be defined for both breeds. South African cows displayed more variation in yields compared to those of Holstein cows in the Netherlands and Ireland. Season of calving had a pronounced effect on the shape of the Standard Lactation Curve, while the combination of calving age and lactation affected both the shape and level of the curves. Expected yields were therefore higher during the whole lactation in higher compared to lower herd classes.The results of this study form the basis for inclusion of records in progress and short lactations in national genetic evaluation.

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