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Walsh Fellowship Success for Informatics

Walsh Fellowship Success for Informatics

31 August, 2012

A successful Walsh Fellowship has been awarded as part of a joint collaboration between Teagasc Grasslands and CIT with the recruited candidate based at Teagasc Grasslands Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork. The scholarship has a value of €21,000 per annum, inclusive of student fees, over 4 years. The recruited student will carry out their PhD studies under the academic supervision of Dr. Bernadette O’ Brien and John Upton (Teagasc) as well as CIT supervisors Aisling O’ Driscoll and Dr. Roy Sleator from the Department of Computing and Biological Sciences respectively.



(L-R): Aisling O’ Driscoll, Department of Computing, CIT and Dr. Roy Sleator, Department of Biological Sciences, CIT.

The fellowship will fund PhD research into automating the milking process within a grass based system. The defining feature of an automatic milking system (AMS) is that cows decide when they wish to come to the milking area with the milking functions automated and distributed over a ~23h period. Currently, many Irish dairy farms are focused on herd expansion and efficiency to maintain profitability. But skilled labour is scarce and expensive with milking presenting a significant constraint on work life organisation and quality of life. Automatic milking could present a potential resolution. Dairying in Ireland may involve specific challenges to automated milking, such as integration into a pasture system, infrastructure and climate.

Thus, a research duty exists to investigate the feasibility of automated milking using an Irish research dairy farm. The proposed PhD study will focus both on maximising both the output from the AMS unit and grass as a proportion of cow diet. It will measure key performance indicators of production, energy and economics as well as a full complement of animal and product (milk) parameters. The objective of this fellowship is to carry out a scientific appraisal of the system together with an economic analysis of the automatic milking system. This research shall be related to and will provide the information necessary for future decision making on the direction of milking organisation on dairy farms in Ireland.

If you are interested in applying for this position please visit our Careers page.