Optimal contribution selection applied to the Norwegian and the North-Swedish cold-blooded trotter – a feasibility study


H. F. Olsen, Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, N-1432 Ås, Norway. Tel: +47 64965115; Fax: +47 64965101; E-mail: hanne.fjerdingby@umb.no


The aim of this study was to examine how to apply optimal contribution selection (OCS) in the Norwegian and the North-Swedish cold-blooded trotter and give practical recommendations for the future. OCS was implemented using the software Gencont with overlapping generations and selected a few, but young sires, as these turn over the generations faster and thus is less related to the mare candidates. In addition, a number of Swedish sires were selected as they were less related to the selection candidates. We concluded that implementing OCS is feasible to select sires (there is no selection on mares), and we recommend the number of available sire candidates to be continuously updated because of amongst others deaths and geldings. In addition, only considering sire candidates with phenotype above average within a year class would allow selection candidates from many year classes to be included and circumvent current limitation on number of selection candidates in Gencont (approx. 3000). The results showed that mare candidates can well be those being mated the previous year. OCS will, dynamically, recruit young stallions and manage the culling or renewal of annual breeding permits for stallions that had been previously approved. For the annual mating proportion per sire, a constraint in accordance with the maximum that a sire can mate naturally is recommended.