GENETIC AND NON GENETIC FACTORS AFFECTING BODY CONDITION SCORE IN NILI RAVI BUFFALOES AND ITS CORRELATION WITH MILK YIELD
R. H. Mirza, K. Javed, M. Abdullah and T. N. Pasha*
Department of Livestock Production, *Department of Animal Nutrition, University of Veterinary and Animal Science Lahore, Pakistan
Pakistan supports approximately 33.7 million buffaloes and Nili Ravi buffalo is the main dairy animal. Among physical characteristics, Body Condition Score (BCS) is very important and various reports indicate that it is under the genetic control to varying levels in different breeds. The present study was planned to score buffaloes on the basis of body condition and to estimate some genetic and non genetic factors affecting this trait and its genetic and phenotypic correlations with milk yield in Nili Ravi buffaloes. Nili Ravi buffaloes maintained at 5 institutional herds and some private farms in Punjab were utilized in this study. A total of 437 milking buffaloes with 1180 records using a linear scale of 1-9 for BCS scoring of buffaloes following ICAR guidelines. Each animal was scored thrice in lactation with an interval of about 90 days. Least squares mean for BCS was found as 4.92±1.08 with a coefficient of variation 22.04 %. A highly significant effect of herd, stage of lactation and parity was observed on BCS. Significant linear and quadratic effect of age was seen on body condition score. Genetic parameters were estimated fitting Animal Model using ASREML program. A fairly moderate estimate of heritability (0.14±0.091) for BCS was observed in the present study. A negative phenotypic correlation of -0.156±0.35 with 305 days milk yield and -0.216±0.03 with score day milk yield was observed. Low genetic correlations (0.051±0.0001 and 0.117±0.017) of BCS with 305 days milk yield and score day milk yield were estimated. It is the first study and more investigations are needed before using BCS as selection criterion for milk yield in Nili Ravi buffaloes.
Key words: Nili Ravi, Buffalo, BCS, Heritability, Correlation, linear scale, milk yield