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Genetic variability of the length of postpartum anoestrus in Charolais cows and its relationship with age at puberty


Fertility records (n = 1 802) were collected from 615 Charolais primiparous and multiparous cows managed in an experimental herd over an 11-year period. The objectives of the study were to describe the genetic variability of the re-establishment of postpartum reproductive activity and the relationship with body weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS) at calving and age at puberty. The length of postpartum anoestrus was estimated based on weekly blood progesterone assays and on twice daily detection of oestrus behaviour. The first oestrus behaviour was observed 69 days (± 25 days s.d.) post-calving and the first positive progesterone measurement (≥ 1 ng mL-1) was observed at 66 days (± 22 days s.d.) for the group of easy-calving multiparous suckling cows. Estimates of heritability and repeatability were h2 = 0.12 and r = 0.38 respectively, for the interval from calving to first oestrus (ICO). Corresponding values were h2 = 0.35 and r = 0.60 for the interval from calving to the first positive progesterone test (ICP). The genetic correlation between both criteria was high (r g = 0.98). The genetic relationships between postpartum intervals and BW and BCS of the female at calving were negative: the genetic aptitude to be heavier at calving and to have high body reserves was related to shorter postpartum intervals. A favourable genetic correlation between age at puberty and postpartum intervals was found (r g between 0.45 and 0.70). The heifers which were genetically younger at puberty also had shorter postpartum intervals.

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Correspondence to Marie-Madeleine Mialon.

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Mialon, MM., Renand, G., Krauss, D. et al. Genetic variability of the length of postpartum anoestrus in Charolais cows and its relationship with age at puberty. Genet Sel Evol 32, 403 (2000).

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  • beef cattle
  • postpartum
  • puberty
  • body weight
  • genetic parameter