Lactation yields and estimated breeding values (EBVs) for protein, fat and milk were obtained for individual cows in a farmlet trial carried out at Dexcel in Hamilton, using Holstein-Friesian cows, to test for the existence of a genotype by environment interaction across the range of feeding levels, and EBVs typically found on New Zealand pasturebased dairy farms. At very low levels of feeding, with yields of 267 - 307 kg milksolids per cow (kg MS/cow), regression coefficients of lactation yield on EBVs were not significantly different from the expected value of 1. At high levels of feeding, with yields of 383 - 411 kg MS/cow, most of the regression coefficients for yields of protein, fat and milk on EBVs were significantly greater than 1. The results of this study show that at low levels of feeding the actual differences in production between cows, which differ in EBVs correspond to the actual differences in EBVs, whereas at high levels of feeding the difference in milk yields between genetic groups are greater than the difference in EBVs. This constitutes a form of genotype x environment interaction, in which genotype is measured as breeding values, and has important practical and economic implications for dairy farms, and for the expected value of genetic improvements.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 63, Queenstown, 73-76, 2003
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