a1 Macdonald Campus, McGill University, Quebec, Canada
Weaning weights (or weight nearest to 205 days of age) from 8086 Mashona calves were collected from seven herds covering the period 1976 to 1988. Estimates of (co)variance components were obtained by restricted maximum likelihood using a derivative free algorithm and fitting an individual animal model. Estimates of direct additive heritability, maternal additive heritability, their correlation, total heritability and repeatability, obtained under two models were 0·243 and 0·281, 0·113 and 0·392, –0·282 and –0·269, 0·252 and 0·298, and 0·409 and 0·573, respectively. Trends within herd were estimated from the mean value of progeny born within a particular year. There were no significant trends in direct additive breeding values. A general decline in maternal breeding values was observed. Only one herd (herd 1) had a significant eroiyonmeYital freni (0·385 kg/year). It IMS emphftsilfiti that any future revision of the method used to improve the weaning weights of beef cattle should also improve their maternal breeding values.
(Received December 07 1992)
(Accepted July 20 1994)