Comparative evaluation of non-genetic factors affecting milk yield and composition of Red Dane and Jersey cattle in Zimbabwe
Women's University in Africa, P.O. Box, MP 1222, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe; Department of Animal Science, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe; Department of Research and Specialist Services, Matopos Research Institute, P Bag k5137 Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
A study was carried out to evaluate non genetic factors affecting milk yield and milk composition in Zimbabwean Red Dane and Jersey cattle cattle. A total of 1004 and 10 986 unedited Red Dane and Jersey 305-day lactation records respectively, were obtained from Livestock Identification Trust (LIT) containing 22 herds (1 Red Dane herd and 21 Jersey herds), with Red Dane calving in the period 2004 to 2009 (giving year of birth from 1998 to 2007) and Jersey cows calving in the period 1996 to 2008 (giving year of birth from 1994 to 2005). The General Linear Model (GLM) procedure of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS, 2004) version 9.1.3 was used to determine the genetic parameters and environmental factors. Calving interval, month of calving, parity and quadratic effects of age at calving fitted as covariates significantly (P < 0.0001) affected the milk, fat and protein yields. Milk, fat and protein yields obtained increased with an increase in calving interval. There was a linear and quadratic relationship between the production traits and age at calving of the Jersey cattle implying that milk, fat and protein yields increase with age of the animal. It is thus important to preadjust data for these environmental factors when carrying out genetic evaluations of production traits in dairy cattle. © 2014 Nyamushamba et al.