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Measuring, modelling and mitigating methane emissions in dairy cows.

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This project is no longer listed on FindAPhD.com and may not be available.

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  Prof J Newbold  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Methane from rumen fermentation is the largest contributor to the carbon footprint of dairy farming. Measurement and modelling of methane are key to its management.

Factors affecting methane emissions, such as diet ingredient composition and nutritional quality, cow phenotype, breed and genotype and farm management system, remain imperfectly understood. With a focus on dairy farming systems in south-west Scotland and northern England, this project will add to this understanding by measuring methane under a range of farm conditions and in response to selected dietary interventions. Specifically, the project will include a comparison of methane emissions from cows grazing a conventional versus a multispecies pasture.

The project will utilise an accepted methodology (‘GreenFeed’) to measure methane emissions from individual cows, but also brings opportunities to evaluate proxy measurements such as the spectral analysis of milk.

Relatively simple models are currently used by nutrition advisors to predict effects of diet change on methane emissions per cow and the consequences of those emissions for carbon footprint at the farm level. Data generated in this project will be used to evaluate existing models and are expected to provide opportunities to develop improved models. 

Models also have value when they fail. During the project, any observations of unexpectedly low methane emissions (from specific cows offered specific diets) will be of particular interest. Such observations, if confirmed, are opportunities for further investigation (for example, of the rumen microbiome) seeking to propose and test explanations.


Application instructions can be found on the SRUC website- PhD opportunities | SRUC

  1. Download and complete the Equal opportunities survey and note the completion reference
  2. Download and complete the SRUC Application form
  3. Download the Academic Reference Request and send to two referees requesting they submit to [Email Address Removed] by the closing date.

Send your application including the following to [Email Address Removed]:

  • Completed Application form quoting REF SRUC/JN
  • Academic Qualifications
  • English Language Qualification (if applicable)

Unfortunately, due to workload constraints, we cannot consider incomplete applications. Please ensure your application is complete by Thursday 5th January 2023.

Funding Notes

This 3.5 year PhD studentship is open to UK and international students, providing funding to cover UKRI level stipend and UK level tuition fees.

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Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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