Breeding values prediction for clinical mastitis in Czech Holstein cattle

Ludmila Zavadilová, Eva Kašná, Zuzana Krupová, Anita Kranjčevičová


Submitted 2020-07-16 | Accepted 2020-08-26 | Available 2020-12-01

This study aims to genetically evaluate clinical mastitis (CM) in Holstein cattle using a two-trait repeatability animal model with the average lactation somatic cell score (LSCS) as an indicator trait of mastitis. The data set included 21,786 Holsteins with 29,110 lactations in 59 herds and with a calving date between 2015 and 2019. CM was considered as an all-or-none trait (values 0 or 1) in the period from calving to 305 days in milk, and the LSCS was obtained by logarithmic transformation of the average of the individual test-day records for somatic cell count over lactation. Heritability of CM was estimated using a single-trait repeatability animal model, whereas the genetic correlation between CM and LSCS was assessed through a two-trait repeatability animal model. Fixed effects included in the analyses were parity-age and herd-year-season, and the random effects were the permanent environment and the animal. The (co)variance matrix was employed in breeding values estimation for both single-trait (only CM) and bivariate models (CM and LSCS) including genomic prediction. Only genotyped sires formed the reference population for the single-step genomic evaluation. The heritability for CM was 0.04 in the single-trait and 0.05 in the two-trait analysis. Genetic correlation between CM and LSCS was 0.80. The employment of the two-trait model had a considerably strong influence on reliability. The reliability increased for cows with records as well as for the genotyped sires. This study indicates that the two-trait analysis of CM and LSCS is feasible and improves the reliability of the estimated breeding values.

Keywords: mastitis, cow, genomic breeding value, multi-trait model, somatic cell score


Aguilar, I. et al. (2010). Hot topic: A unified approach to utilise phenotypic, full pedigree, and genomic information for genetic evaluation of Holstein final score. Journal of Dairy Science, 93, 743–752.

Ali, A. K. A. and Shook, G. E. (1980). An optimum transformation for somatic-cell concentration in milk. Journal of Dairy Science, 63, 487–490.

Buch, L. H. et al. (2011). Udder health and female fertility traits are favourably correlated and support each other in multi-trait evaluations. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, 128, 174-182.

Carlén, E. et al. (2004). Genetic parameters for clinical mastitis, somatic cell score, and production in the first three lactations of Swedish Holstein cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 87, 3062–3070.

Christensen, O. F. and Lund, M. S. (2010). Genomic prediction when some animals are not genotyped. Genetics Selection Evolution, 42, 2.

Forni, S. et al. (2011). Different genomic relationship matrices for single-step analysis using phenotypic, pedigree and genomic information. Genetics Selection Evolution, 43, 1.

Heringstad, B. et al. (2001). Responses to selection against clinical mastitis in the Norwegian cattle population. Acta Agriculturæ Scandinavica, Section A – Animal Science, 51(2), 155–160.

Heringstad, B. et al. (2006). Genetic associations between clinical mastitis and somatic cell score in early first-lactation cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 89, 2236–2244.

Jamrozik, J. et al. (2013). Genetic and genomic evaluation of mastitis resistance in Canada. Interbull Bulletin, 47, 43–51.

Kašná, E. et al. (2018). Genetic evaluation of the clinical mastitis in Holstein cattle. Czech Journal of Animal Science, 63, 443- 451.

Kvapilík, J. et al. (eds) (2016). Yearbook. Raising Cattle in the Czech Republic – Main Results and Indicators for 2016. CMSCH a.s., Prague, Czech Republic. In Czech.

Martin, P. et al. (2018). Novel strategies to genetically improve mastitis resistance in dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, 101, 2724-2736.

Misztal, I. et al. (2018). Manual for BLUPF90 family programs. University of Georgia, Athens, USA, 142 p.

Mrode, R. et al. (2012). Joint estimation of genetic parameters for test-day somatic cell count and mastitis in the United Kingdom. Journal of Dairy Science, 95, 4618–4628.

Negussie, E. et al. (2005). Genetic parameters and single versus multitrait evaluation of udder health traits. Acta Agriculturæ Scandinavica, Section A – Animal Science, 56, 73-82.

Negussie, E. et al. (2010). Combining test day LSCS with clinical mastitis and udder type traits: A random regression model for joint genetic evaluation of udder health in Denmark Finland and Sweden. Interbull Bulletin, 42, 25-32.

Neuenschwander, T. F.-O. et al. (2012). Genetic parameters for producer-recorded health data in Canadian Holstein cattle. Animal, 6(4), 571–578.

Ødegård, J. et al. (2004). Short communication: Bivariate genetic analysis of clinical mastitis and somatic cell count in Norwegian dairy cattle, J. Dairy Sci., 87, 3515–3517.

Oltenacu, P. A. and Broom, D. M. (2010). The impact of genetic selection for increased milk yield on the welfare of dairy cows. Animal Welfare, 19, 39–49.

Pérez-Cabal, M. A., and Charfeddine, N. (2013) Genetic relationship between clinical mastitis and several traits of interest in Spanish Holstein dairy cattle. Interbull Bulletin, 47, 77–81.

Rilanto, T. et al. (2020). Culling reasons and risk factors in Estonian dairy cows. BMC Veterinary Research, 16, 173.

Rupp, R. and Boichard, D. (2003). Genetics of resistance to mastitis in dairy cattle. Veterinary Research, 34, 671–688.

Schaeffer, L. R. (1984). Sire and cow evaluation under multiple trait models. Journal of Dairy Science, 67, 1567-1580.

Šlosárková, S. et al. (2016). Monitoring of dairy cattle diseases in the Czech Republic. Veterinářství, 66(11), 859–866. In Czech.

Vazquez, A. I. et al. (2009). Assessment of Poisson, logit, and linear models for genetic analysis of clinical mastitis in Norwegian Red cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 92, 739–748.

Vitezica, Z. G. et al. (2011). Bias in genomic predictions for populations under selection. Genetic Research, 93, 357-366.

Wolf, J. et al. (2010). A model for the genetic evaluation of number of clinical mastitis cases per lactation in Czech Holstein cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 93, 1193–1204.

Zavadilová, L. et al. (2017). Genetic parameters for clinical mastitis, fertility and somatic cell score in Czech Holstein cattle. Annals of Animal Science, 17, 1007-1018.

Zavadilová, L. et al. (2015). Genetic analysis of clinical mastitis data for Holstein cattle in the Czech Republic. Archives Animal Breeding, 58, 199-204.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Acta Fytotechnica et Zootechnica

© Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Faculty of Agrobiology and Food Resources