The population of Italian river buffaloes is currently about 200,000. Mozzarella cheese is produced using buffalo milk. Lactations from 1980 up to now were considered in the analysis. After editing, 10,663 lactation records for milk, fat, protein and mozzarella cheese production of river buffalo cows were analysed using restricted maximum likelihood, by fitting a multiple trait repeated records animal model with a derivative-free algorithm. The number of cows with records was 3,873 with 6,842 animals in the relationship matrix. Three different fixed effects were included in the model: 575 levels of herd and year subclasses, 12 levels of calendar month of calving and 2 levels of number of times milked per day. A cubic covariate was used to adjust for months of age at parity. A quadratic covariate was used to adjust for days in the previous dry period. The averages of milk, fat, protein and mozzarella yields in kilograms and fat and protein percentages of milk yield were 2,286.8 + 492.1, 196.9 ± 45.6, 104.7 ± 21.7, 589.1 + 125.4, 8.59 ± .85, 4.55 ± .28 respectively. Heritability estimates were 0.14 for milk yield, 0.11 for fat yield, 0.14 for protein yield, 0.13 for mozzarella cheese yield, 0.17 for fat percentage and 0.10 for protein percentage. The proportions of total variance due to permanent environmental effects of the cows for yields of milk, fat and protein and percentages of fat and protein were 0.24,0.16,0.29,0.23,0.12 and 0.22, respectively. Keywords
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 24: Sheep and goats (fibre); sheep and goats (meat and milk); poultry; horses; buffaloes., , 459–462, 1998
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