Selection strategies for dairy buffaloes: economic and genetic consequences
Data de publicação2012-12-01
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Buffaloes are generally raised in Brazil without milk-recording programs, and thus without genetic evaluations of any of their traits. This study evaluated the economic impacts of three different selection strategies on buffalo populations and the evolution of genetic trends, genetic variances and inbreeding coefficients resulting from each of them. The selection strategies used were as follows: (i) random selection; (ii) phenotypic selection; and (iii) progeny testing (PT). As the numbers of herds enrolled in milk-recording programs increased, phenotypic selection and PT strategies increased both monetary benefits and genetic trends. The extra costs of implementing milk recording (MR) and PT procedures were exceeded by the income resulting from better buffalo performance. Progeny testing is known to result in beneficial genetic trends and the use of artificial insemination promoted better distributions of genetic material into herds that were not enrolled in milk-recording programs. Phenotypic selection and PT increased mean milk production - a key factor in profitability. Inbreeding levels remained stable with phenotypic selection, even as the numbers of MR herds increased. Increases in the numbers of sires that were evaluated reduced the mean inbreeding coefficient in PT. Increasing the number of herds enrolled in milk-recording programs resulted in increased numbers of sires needed for PT, but this did not increase the inbreeding coefficient. In summary, phenotypic selection and PT strategies appear to be economically viable for buffalo husbandry in south-eastern Brazil under current (20072008) economic conditions and should be encouraged.