NI dairy research project to improve welfare and production in robotic systems
A new PhD research project co-funded AgriSearch will aim to understand dairy cow behaviour to improve production and welfare in robotic milking systems.
The project is a collaboration between the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Queen’s University Belfast and AgriSearch.
The overall aim of the project is to improve cow welfare and productivity in robotic milking systems by optimising the visit frequency to the robot.
Latest estimates that as much as 10% of Northern Ireland’s national herd is milked by robots. However, despite the recent uptake of robotic milking, there is little independent information regarding the management of such systems.
The success of robotic milking depends on the cows’ voluntary behaviour – yet this remains to be fully understood. Through conducting a number of experiments over the course of her PhD, Francesca will hope to address these knowledge gaps.
Francesca will be supervised by Dr. Gareth Arnott of Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences, Dr. Stephanie Buijs of the AFBI, Jason Rankin of AgriSearch, and Dr. Deborah McConnell of the AFBI.
The Department for the Economy is the main funder of the project, through a CAST scholarship.