1st Page



This article in

  1. Vol. 86 No. 2, p. 278-286
    Received: May 05, 2007
    Accepted: Oct 15, 2007
    Published: December 5, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):


Multi-trait and random regression approaches for addressing the wide range of weaning ages in Asturiana de los Valles beef cattle for genetic parameter estimation1

  1. A. Menéndez-Buxadera*,
  2. C. Carleos,
  3. J. A. Baro,
  4. A. Villa§ and
  5. J. Cañón*2
  1. Dpto. Producción Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain;
    Dpto. Estadística e I.O. Universidad de Oviedo, 33007 Oviedo, Spain;
    Dpto. CC. Agroforestales, ETSIIAA Universidad de Valladolid, 34004 Palencia, Spain; and
    ASEAVA, Abarrio #24, Rondiella, 33424 Llanera (Asturias), Spain


Weaning weight (WW) records of 24,066 Asturiana de los Valles beef cattle, including the progeny of 557 sires and 10,653 dams, were analyzed using a multitrait animal model (MAM) and a random regression model (RRM) in order to estimate the variance components and the breeding value of the animals. Three definitions of WW were used: early weaning (EW) for animals weaned before the age of 180 d; standard weaning (SW) for animals weaned between 180 and 240 d old; and late weaning (LW) for animals weaned between the ages of 240 and 365 d. The heritabilities (h2) were high (from 0.49 to 0.63), which fully agrees with previous estimates for this breed. The genetic correlations between EW and SW were 0.86, and lower between EW and LW at 0.543 to 0.622, using MAM and RRM models, respectively. Ranking of sires displayed changes depending on age at weaning of their offspring, which could explain the modest genetic progress reached using MAM evaluation. The first 2 eigenvalues of the random regression coefficient matrix explained 66 and 30% of the genetic variance, which implies important genetic variation underlying the form of the growth curve of the animals during the weaning period. The evaluation of sires according to the official method, as currently carried out by the breeders’ association (WW adjusted previously to the age of 180 d), does not exploit the genetic differences in response to their production system where the calf is weaned at variable ages.

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