The Holstein-Friesian breed is popular for its potentially high milk producing ability and is reared across all farming systems in Kenya. The breed has attractive capabilities for a country where milk supply is not yet able to meet the demands of the growing population. Information on the productive herd-life of these animals in the Kenyan environment is scarce, yet length of productive life (LPL), defined as the time from first calving to departure from the herd, is a trait of considerable economic importance: herd life combines traits related to production, health, fertility and workability. A longer life decreases the cost of replacement per year, leads to a higher proportion of cows in later higher producing lactations, and means less culling for diseases (Ducrocq et al., 1988 ; Essl, 1998 ; Strandberg, 1996). Genetic evaluation of herd life is important as a method of monitoring a population particularly if increasing milk yield beyond some point becomes antagonistic to survival (Essl, 1998 ; Smith and Quaas, 1984). The objectives of this study were : to evaluate the environmental factors affecting LPL of Holstein-Friesian cattle raised in Kenya ; to determine the pattern of variation in LPL for offspring of sires from different countries that are used in Kenya ; to assess the effects of productivity in the first lactation on LPL of Holstein-Friesian cattle in Keny

J. MK Ojango, Vincent Ducrocq, G. E Pollott

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 1, , 1.33, 2002
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