Evaluation of autoregressive covariance structures for test-day records of Holstein cows: Estimates of parameters

R. M. Sawalha, J. F. Keown, S. D. Kachman, L. D. Van Vleck

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19 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to compare test-day (TD) models with autoregressive covariance structures for the estimation of genetic and environmental components of variance for milk, fat and protein yields, and somatic cell score (SCS) in Holstein cows. Four models were compared: model I (CS model) was a simple TD repeatability animal model with compound symmetry covariance structure for environmental effects, model II (ARpe model) and model III (ARe model) had first-order autoregressive covariance structures for TD permanent or residual environmental effects, respectively, and model IV (305-d model) was a simple animal model using 305-d records. Data were 106,472 first-lactation TD records of 12,071 Holstein cows calving from 1996 through 2001. Likelihood ratio tests indicated that ARpe and AR e models fit the data significantly better than the CS model. The ARe model resulted in slightly smaller estimates of genetic variance and heritability than did the CS model. Estimates of residual variance were always smaller with the CS model than with the ARe model with the autoregressive covariance structure among TD residual effects. Estimates of heritability with different TD models were in the range of 0.06 to 0.11. The 305-d model resulted in estimates of heritability in the range of 0.11 to 0.36. The autoregressive covariance structure among TD residual effects may help to prevent bias in heritability estimates for milk, fat and protein yields, and SCS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2632-2642
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005



  • Autoregressive co-variance
  • Milk yield
  • Test day

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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