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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Mating allocations in Holstein combining genomic information and linear programming optimization at the herd level

Bengtsson, C.; Stalhammar, H.; Thomasen, J. R.; Fikse, W. F.; Strandberg, E.; Eriksson, S.

Abstract

In this study, we explored mating allocation in Hol-stein using genomic information for 24,333 Holstein fe-males born in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. We used 2 data sets of bulls: the top 50 genotyped bulls and the top 25 polled genotyped bulls on the Nordic total merit scale. We used linear programming to optimize economic scores within each herd, considering genetic level, genetic relationship, semen cost, the economic impact of genetic defects, polledness, and 0-casein. We found that it was possible to reduce genetic relation-ships and eliminate expression of genetic defects with minimal effect on the genetic level in total merit index. Compared with maximizing only Nordic total merit in-dex, the relative frequency of polled offspring increased from 13.5 to 22.5%, and that of offspring homozygous for 0-casein (A2A2) from 66.7 to 75.0% in one genera-tion, without any substantial negative impact on other comparison criteria. Using only semen from polled bulls, which might become necessary if dehorning is banned, considerably reduced the genetic level. We also found that animals carrying the polled allele were less likely to be homozygous for 0-casein (A2A2) and more likely to be carriers of the genetic defect HH1. Hence, adding economic value to a monogenic trait in the economic score used for mating allocation sometimes negatively affected another monogenetic trait. We rec-ommend that the comparison criteria used in this study be monitored in a modern genomic mating program.

Keywords

mating allocation; polledness; Nordic total merit

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2023, Volume: 106, number: 5, pages: 3359-3375
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC