Genetic parameters for yield, fitness, and type traits in US Brown Swiss dairy cattle

K. D. Gibson, C. D. Dechow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The objective of this research was to evaluate heritabilities and genetic correlations among yield, fitness, and type traits for US Brown Swiss cattle born in 2000 and later. The data set used consisted of 108,633 first through fifth lactation records from 45,464 cows for yield, somatic cell score (SCS), days open, and productive life. Approximately half of the records had observations for 17 type traits and 41,074 had observations for milking speed. These data were analyzed using a series of 3 trait models. Heritability estimates of each trait were similar to previously reported values for both Holsteins, and Brown Swiss in other countries. Milk, fat, and protein yield had strong positive genetic correlations with productive life (0.67 to 0.71), whereas days open and SCS had strong negative correlations with productive life (−0.60 and −0.69, respectively). Days open was more unfavorably correlated with dairy form (angularity) than with yield. The genetic correlation of udder depth and milk yield was unfavorable (−0.40), whereas rear udder height (0.20) and width (0.48) were favorably correlated with milk yield. Udder depth had a favorable genetic correlation with SCS (−0.26). Type traits with the strongest genetic correlations with productive life were fore udder attachment, mobility, and final score (0.44, 0.50, and 0.57, respectively). These updated genetic parameters will allow for improved genetic selection within the Brown Swiss breed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1251-1257
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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