Seasonal Grouping in Year-Season Animal Model Evaluation of Sahiwal Cattle
Season is very important as it defines the contemporaries for sire and cow evaluation. An attempt is made for defining season for animal model evaluation of Sahiwal animals, using 1,227 records from 730 cows. Cows were required to have a lactation length of 305-days. Ten different combinations of months for two, four, five or other seasons were tried. The other fixed effect in the model was age defined within parity. The random effects were permanent environment and animal's breeeding value along with the residual effects. A single trait animal model was used where all known relationships of an animal were incorporated in a relationship matrix. The error variance from the fitted model decreased as the number of year-season combinations increased, indicating a month-year model to be more appropriate. This, on the other hand, decreased the number of contemporaries for certain subclasses to a minimum of one, making the bull comparisons invalid. Use of a two season scenario, with winter (November through February) and summer (March through October) was better than the other combinations in terms of error variance of the fitted model and the number of lactations represented in any year-season subclass.
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