Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems
Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems

How to improve breeding value prediction for feed conversion ratio in the case of incomplete longitudinal body weights

Authors: 
Huynh-Tran V.H., Gilbert H., David I.
Publication date: 
5 January 2017
Full title: 
How to improve breeding value prediction for feed conversion ratio in the case of incomplete longitudinal body weights
Publishing information: 
Journal of Animal Science, 95 (1): 39-48
Abstract: 

With the development of automatic self-feeders, repeated measurements of feed intake are becoming easier in an increasing number of species. However, the corresponding BW are not always recorded, and these missing values complicate the longitudinal analysis of the feed conversion ratio (FCR). Our aim was to evaluate the impact of missing BW data on estimations of the genetic parameters of FCR and ways to improve the estimations. On the basis of the missing BW profile in French Large White pigs (male pigs weighed weekly, females and castrated males weighed monthly), we compared 2 different ways of predicting missing BW, 1 using a Gompertz model and 1 using a linear interpolation. For the first part of the study, we used 17,398 weekly records of BW and feed intake recorded over 16 consecutive weeks in 1,222 growing male pigs. We performed a simulation study on this data set to mimic missing BW values according to the pattern of weekly proportions of incomplete BW data in females and castrated males. The FCR was then computed for each week using observed data (obser_FCR), data with missing BW (miss_FCR), data with BW predicted using a Gompertz model (Gomp_FCR), and data with BW predicted by linear interpolation (interp_FCR). Heritability (h2) was estimated, and the EBV was predicted for each repeated FCR using a random regression model. In the second part of the study, the full data set (males with their complete BW records, castrated males and females with missing BW) was analyzed using the same methods (miss_FCR, Gomp_FCR, and interp_FCR). Results of the simulation study showed that h2 were overestimated in the case of missing BW and that predicting BW using a linear interpolation provided a more accurate estimation of h2 and of EBV than a Gompertz model. Over 100 simulations, the correlation between obser_EBV and interp_EBV, Gomp_EBV, and miss_EBV was 0.93 ± 0.02, 0.91 ± 0.01, and 0.79 ± 0.04, respectively. The heritabilities obtained with the full data set were quite similar for miss_FCR, Gomp_FCR, and interp_FCR. In conclusion, when the proportion of missing BW is high, genetic parameters of FCR are not well estimated. In French Large White pigs, in the growing period extending from d 65 to 168, prediction of missing BW using a Gompertz growth model slightly improved the estimations, but the linear interpolation improved the estimation to a greater extent. This result is due to the linear rather than sigmoidal increase in BW over the study period.

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