Genotype x environment interaction for age at first calving in Brazilian and Colombian Holsteins
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The objective was to determine whether there is a genotype x environment interaction for age at first calving (AFC) in Holstein cattle in Brazil and Colombia. Data included 51,239 and 25,569 first-lactation records from Brazil and Colombia, respectively. Of 4230 sires in the data, 530 were North American sires used in both countries. Analyses were done using the REML bi-trait animal model, and AFC was considered as a distinct characteristic in each country. Fixed effects of contemporary group (herd-calving year), sire genetic group, and cow genetic group, and random effects of animal and residual variation were included in the model. Average AFC in Brazil and Colombia were 29.5 ± 4.0 and 32.1 ± 3.5 mo, respectively. Additive and residual genetic components and heritability coefficient for AFC in Brazil were 2.21 mo 2, 9.41 mo 2, and 0.19, respectively, whereas for Colombia, they were 1.02 mo 2, 6.84 mo 2, and 0.13, respectively. The genetic correlation of AFC between Brazil and Colombia was 0.78, indicating differences in ranking of sires consistent with a genotype x environment interaction. Therefore, in countries with differing environments, progeny of Holstein sires may calve at relatively younger or older ages compared with contemporary herdmates in one environment versus another.