Top award scooped by Irish cattle nutritionist

An Irish cattle nutritionist, Prof. David Kenny, has scooped the British Society of Animal Science’s (BSAS’s) Sir John Hammond award.

A principle research scientist in ruminant nutritional physiology at Teagasc, Prof. Kenny received the award at the society’s annual conference in Dublin last week in recognition for his contribution to animal science.

He received the award for his work on how biological controls can affect economically important traits in beef and dairy herds.

Following a PhD in cattle nutrition and fertility at University College Dublin (UCD), the professor’s research career – which first began at UCD and then moved to Tegasc – has seen him lead several studies looking at cattle reproduction.

Currently, Prof. Kenny is leading a €1.2 million project looking at control of the reproductive function in beef cows and heifers which is being funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Recently he has begun a €1.9 million project, funded by the Science Foundation, examining the control of puberty and semen quality in bulls.

Prof. David Kenny

A breeder of both pedigree Limousin cattle and competition-winning sheepdogs, Prof. Kenny grew up on his family’s livestock farm in Co. Mayo, where he continues to farm in his spare time.

‘Substantial contributions’

Presenting the award, BSAS president Richard Dewhurst stated that the Irish cattle nutritionist had made substantial contributions to improving the profitability and productivity of beef cattle in Ireland and across the world.

Commending his work, Prof. Dewhurst said: “David’s efforts to improve our understanding of the impacts of nutrition on cattle cannot be underestimated.

By using his practical experiences as a farmer, combined with his passion for animal science, he has produced research which is both relevant and invaluable to industry.

Accepting the award at Croke Park on Tuesday, April 11, Prof. Kenny said he was honoured and humbled to be recognised by the society.

Continuing, he said: “As the award is in memory of the outstanding pioneering work of Sir John Hammond in reproductive physiology, a subject close to my own heart, it makes it all the more significant.

My initial love for livestock farming was fostered by my parents and grandparents, but I have many colleagues – both nationally and internationally – who I have collaborated with over the years who have helped my career.

“In particular, I’d like to acknowledge the impact my PhD supervisor Joe Sreenan had on my early career, and thank my current employer Teagasc and former employer University College Dublin for facilitating my research,” Prof. Kenny concluded.