PhD student position on "Developing an automatic monitoring system to evaluate individual drinking behaviour and water intake of dairy cows in grazing systems"
The importance of access to sufficient drinking water for dairy cow welfare and production is widely recognised. Among other factors, cow water intake is dependent on ambient characteristics such as temperature, thus water requirements may increase with climate change. Therefore, determining the minimal water requirement of dairy cows is essential to safeguard their welfare and production under a global warming scenario. Technology devices have been explored for monitoring drinking activities and to determinate whether they provide reliable estimation of individual water intake. However, these studies have focused on cows housed in indoor systems and none under grazing, where animals are more exposed to harsh environmental conditions.
This project aims to:
- develop and validate an automatic monitoring system to evaluate individual drinking behaviour and water intake of dairy cows in grazing systems
- evaluate the effect of stocking of water trough on drinking behaviour of dairy cows in grazing systems
- evaluate the effect of dairy cow breed on these aspects.
This project is a collaboration between Hartpury University, University of the West of England and University of Bristol and it is well suited for PhD students interested in the use of novel technologies to improve animal welfare. The PhD student will join a multidisciplinary research group and will receive excellent training and support from their supervisory team.