Variance heterogeneity for milk yield in Brazilian and Colombian Holstein herds
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Heterogeneity of variances for milk yield (MY) was determined for Brazilian and Colombian herds. The herds were grouped as high or low variability within each country, using as criterion the phenotypic standard deviation (PSD) of MY in the contemporary groups of cows, from the first to the sixth calving. Brazilian and Colombian herds with PSD greater than 1,168 kg or 1,012 kg, respectively, were classified as high variability while the herd groups with values lower than those were classified as low variability. The genetic parameters for MY within each herd group were estimated using bivariate analysis in an animal model and the restricted maximum likelihood method with a derivative free algorithm, using 72,280 first lactations of cows, daughters of 1,880 sires. Heterogeneous variances were found, and Brazilian herds with high PSD had the greatest additive and residual genetic variances and heritability coefficients for MY. MY genetic correlation coefficients between herds of high and low variability within each country were 0.96 and 0.93 while between countries they varied from 0.72 to 0.81, suggesting that there was a reclassification of animals in the two countries and also heterogeneity of variances. This phenomenon leads to the questioning of the strategy of imported semen usage and the need to do genetic evaluations to identify sires with greater genetic potential for (sub) tropical environmental conditions.