mercredi 11 mars 2015


“Rearing dairy calves in the post-quota era”
Walsh Fellowship Number 2015012

Current calf mortality and morbidity rates are high on Irish dairy farms. In light of previous research this situation is likely to escalate when herd sizes increase in the post-quota era. This project aims to conduct an on-farm survey to identify current calf health and welfare practices from birth to weaning on commercial Irish dairy farms. While helping to identify risk areas these on-farm visits will also provide the opportunity to ascertain the rate of antibody passive transfer in young calves. Currently, there is very little information regarding the rate of maternally derived antibody depletion in dairy calves, particularly with regard to the most prevalent diseases (which will be identified through the on-farm survey). It is proposed to conduct specific experiments to document the depletion rate of a number of important disease-specific maternally derived antibodies in calves receiving known quantities and quality of colostrum. The proposed project is likely to have a significant impact on the dairy industry. If the current mortality rate of 7% was reduced by 1– 2 % on Irish dairy farms this would contribute significantly to farm profitability. The identification of health and welfare issues and development of an understanding regarding the depletion rate of a number of maternally derived antibodies is key to reducing this mortality figure but will also have a significant impact on morbidity levels. Consequently farm profitability and efficiency will be increased and Ireland will continue to maintain a reputation as an exporting country with welfare friendly dairy farming systems.

Applications are invited from graduates holding or expecting an honours degree or an MSc degree in Agricultural Science, Biology, Veterinary Medicine or related discipline. The candidate should have good communication skills in the English language (oral and written). Research experience in the area of animal health and welfare, knowledge of designing experiments, data processing, and data analysis are desirable. Candidates should also be able to communicate with scientists and farmers.

The PhD Fellowship is a joint research project between Teagasc Moorepark, Ireland and the Animal Production Systems group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands. The student will be based at Teagasc Moorepark and will be registered at Wageningen University, working under the supervision of Dr Emer Kennedy (Teagasc) and Dr Eddie Bokkers (Wageningen). The Fellowship will start on 1st October and provides an annual stipend of €22,000 (bursary of the Walsh Fellowship). University fees are paid by the student from the stipend, which is tenable for 4 years. Initially the PhD fellow is appointed for a period of 18 months. Continuation of the appointment with another 30 months will be based on performance evaluation.

Further Information/Applications
Dr Emer Kennedy, Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland; Phone +353 (0)25 42382; email

Application Procedure
Applicants should submit a CV and covering letter detailing their motivation, qualifications and experience to
Emer Kennedy

Closing date
April 10, 2015