The objective of this study was to quantify genotype by environment interaction ( G x E) between automatic milking systems (AMS) and conventional milking systems (CMS) for test-day milk, fat, and protein yield and for test-day somatic cell score (SCS) in The Netherlands. The G x E was studied in 2 ways: 1) between AMS farms and CMS farms in the same period and 2) within farms comparing the period before introduction of AMS with the period after introduction of AMS. For both sub-objectives, a separate data set was generated. Test-day records were used to be more flexible with respect to the introduction date of AMS. Multivariate, fixed regression, test-day sire models were used to estimate variance components. Genetic correlations between AMS farms and CMS farms in the same period were 0.93, >0.99, 0.98, and 0.79 for test-day milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, and SCS, respectively. Genetic correlations within farms between the period before and after introduction of AMS were lower for production traits and higher for SCS: 0.89, 0.91, 0.87, and >0.99, respectively, for test-day milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, and SCS. Heterogeneity of variance was observed between AMS and CMS in both data sets. Especially the residual variance increased with automatic milking. As a consequence, the heritability tended to be lower for automatic milking. It was concluded that effects of G x E are small between AMS and CMS. Therefore, AMS farms can select sires accurately based on national rankings.
- genetic evaluation
- robotic milking