The objective of this study was to investigate the genetic correlations between body and leg structure traits. The study was conducted at a commercial farm and involved 1449 females. Evaluated soundness traits consisted of six body structure traits, five leg structure traits per leg pair and overall leg action. Variance components were estimated using a multivariate repeatability animal model. The heritability estimates for body structure traits were low to moderate and for leg traits primarily low. The genetic correlations between body and leg structure traits were often favorable i.e. improvements in body structure were associated with improvements in leg structure. Furthermore, long and shallow body, high top line and steep hip structure were significantly associated with inferior leg action (P ≤ 0.05). Therefore, in addition to selecting animals with superior feet and leg soundness, the body structure information could be utilized to enhance otherwise relatively slow genetic progress in leg structure and overall leg action.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kenneth_stalder/6/