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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Assessment of the value of international genetic evaluations for yield in predicting domestic breeding values for foreign Holstein bulls

Nicolazzi, E.L.; Forabosco, Flavio; Fikse, Freddy


International genetic evaluations are a valuable source of information for decisions about the importation of (the semen of) foreign bulls. This study analyzed data from 6 countries (Australia, Canada, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and the United States) and compared international evaluations for production traits of foreign bulls (i.e., when no national daughter information was available) to their national breeding values in August 2009, which were based only on domestic daughters' data. A total of 821 bulls with highly reliable estimated breeding values (EBV) for milk, fat, and protein yield were analyzed. No evidence of systematic over- or underestimation was found in most of the countries analyzed. Observed correlations between national and international evaluations were close to 0.9 and, for most countries, generally close to their expected values (calculated from national and international EBV reliabilities). In Italy, however, higher differences between observed and expected correlations and significant mean differences between EBV for more than one trait were observed in bulls progeny-tested in the United States and in other European countries (with differences up to 33.1% of the genetic standard deviation). These results were probably induced by a relatively recent change in the model for national evaluation. The findings in this study reflect a conservative estimate of the real value of international evaluations, as changes in methodologies in either the national or the international evaluations decreased the ability of past international evaluations to predict current national evaluations. Nevertheless, our results indicate that international evaluations based on foreign information for Holstein bulls were reasonably accurate predictors of the future national breeding values based only upon domestic daughters.


Holstein; production trait; international genetic evaluation

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2011, Volume: 94, number: 5, pages: 2601-2612