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Application of classification trees in determining the impact of phenotypic factors on conception to first service in Holstein cattle

Ghiasi, Heydar, Piwczyński, Dariusz, Khaldari, Majid, Kolenda, Magdalena
Animal production science 2016 v.56 no.7 pp. 1061-1069
Holstein, algorithms, calving, conception rate, cows, herds, insemination, lactation, leaves, milk production, phenotype, phylogeny, probability, Iran
The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of phenotypic factors on the probability of conception to first service. The study analysed 49317 lactation records gathered between 1995 and 2007 in Iran, detailing six consecutive lactations in 13 herds of Holstein cows. The impact of phenotypic factors on the conception to first service was evaluated using the classification tree technique. The CHAID algorithm with the Pearson Chi-squared test was used as the division criterion. The resulting tree was six levels deep and consisted of 22 leaves. The greatest divisions in the tree occurred based on the year of calving (five divisions), herd and parity (four divisions each), level of milk production and age at calving (three divisions each). Fewer divisions occurred based on the month when the first insemination was performed (two divisions). The tree structure obtained in the present study allowed identification of combinations of levels of factors associated with highest probabilities of conception. The highest rate of conception to first service was recorded for cows that: while calving were younger than 5 years old; were in herds 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12 and 14; and were inseminated in January, February, March, April, May and November. Those cows were at least in their third lactation.