Livestock Scientist – Grazing Systems and Livestock Phenotyping

Rothamsted Research

Overview Of Role

Rothamsted Research is seeking a highly qualified postdoctoral scientist with a PhD in animal science, beef cattle production, grazing behaviour, grazing livestock production systems, or a similar field. The position runs for three years and the successful candidate will work with the suckler herd at Rothamsted Research, North Wyke and the growing and finishing facilities on the North Wyke Farm Platform (NWFP, a National Capability livestock trial in Devon, UK). The successful candidate will also contribute to the new strategic BBSRC research programme, Soil to Nutrition (S2N). Further information on the NWFP is available at http://rothamsted.ac.uk/farmplatform.

Grazing beef production systems deliver several benefits to the bio-economy, namely: provision of highly nutritious food for humans, utilization of grasslands from lands that are not suitable forgrowing crops for human food, regeneration of land and improvement of soil health by recycling nutrients, among others. However, meat production faces two main challenges associated with intensification: potential detrimental effects on animal health and welfare and negative environmental impacts.

To address these critical aspects of beef production,Rothamsted Research is starting a new project aimed at identifying genetically superior animals for performance off pasture, in both cow/calf and growing/finishing systems with an emphasis on a sustainable delivery of high quality nutrition. This project will address these topics both at an animal level and at a system level. It will: deliver Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the suckling herd and growing animals, propose relevant traits for selecting more sustainable animals (breeding objectives) and help to map out the position of ruminant livestock as part of sustainable food production.

The successful candidate will work with combined different sources of information. They will analyze the existing data base of the North Wyke suckler herd, establish a record system to generate new information required for the project, develop field studies to estimate individual dry matter intake in grazing animals and in housed animals, perform animal behavior studies including deployment of sensors, analyze the nutrients flows within the system (including Greenhouse gases), register and analyse relevant traits (phenotyping), organize and analyze the DNA data base, perform welfare assessments, monitor and analyze data regarding carcass yield and meat quality.

Demonstrated understanding of beef cattle and grazing livestock systems is essential (and preferably within temperate grasslands). Experience in or knowledge of nutrient flows and expertise in assessing intake and animal behaviour is desirable but not essential. Furthermore, the successful applicant will be able to work collaboratively,will have excellent written and verbal communication skills in English, solid understanding of statistical theory together with competence in data analysis, and a clear history of publication in peer-reviewed journals.

As a member of Rothamsted’s Grazing Livestock Systems Cluster that strives to promote economic, social and environmental sustainability of ruminant production systems in the UK and beyond, demonstrated willingness to make their research relevant to real-world agricultural producers is also essential. Whilst most experiments will take place at North Wyke, occasional national and international travel is required.

Enquiries regarding this vacancy should be addressed to Head of Sustainable Agriculture Sciences Department (North Wyke),Professor Michael Lee (michael.lee@rothamsted.ac.uk).

About The Company

Rothamsted Research, North Wyke Site is situated on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, to the west of Exeter in Devon.  We offer excellent facilities, 25 days holiday and an attractive benefits package. Our commitment to learning and development, as well as equality and diversity, create a welcoming environment for all prospective employees.