Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Vol 78, No 3 (2013)

Calving Performance in the Endangered Murboden Cattle Breed: Genetic Parameters and Inbreeding Depression


Pages: 171-175


Calving is a key event on any cattle farm, with both economic and animal welfare consequences when complications arise. Although mostly reported in highly selected breeds, problematic calving performance is also a worry to the unselected dualpurpose Murboden breed, local to Austria. This study presents genetic parameter estimates for calving ease and stillbirth in Murboden cattle. Furthermore, a potential effect of inbreeding on the breeds’ calving performance is evaluated. Results show a moderate direct and maternal heritability (0.18±0.04; 0.11±0.02) and a significant negative direct-maternal genetic correlation for calving ease (-0.41±0.10). Heritabilities of stillbirth are low yet significant (0.048±0.01; 0.018±0.007). A significant effect of inbreeding was detected on maternal calving ease i.e. the ease with which a dam calves. By categorizing the inbreeding coefficients of the dam in six ascending classes it was shown that calving ease worsens as inbreeding coefficients become larger. Results of this study reveal significant genetic variation in calving performance of the Murboden breed which opens doors for genetic selection. An additional important aspect of this study is that its result on inbreeding depression gives counterweight to the general intuitive notion in literature that high selection for production traits is the major contributor to calving difficulty in dairy and beef cattle breeds worldwide.


calving ease; stillbirth; inbreeding depression; Murboden

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