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PhD Studentship: Behaviour and Welfare of Cattle Managed Using Short-Term, High-Density Rotational Grazing (‘Mob Grazing’)

Newcastle University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: 100% fees covered at the Home rate (UK and EU applicants with pre-settled/settled status and meet the residency criteria) and a minimum tax-free annual living allowance of £18,622 (2023/24 UKRI rate)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 9th February 2024
Closes: 29th February 2024
Reference: snes287

Award Summary

100% fees covered at the Home rate (UK and EU applicants with pre-settled/settled status and meet the residency criteria) and a minimum tax-free annual living allowance of £18,622 (2023/24 UKRI rate).

Overview

Cattle farming is one of the least sustainable sectors of agriculture. However, there is increasing evidence that keeping cattle in pasture systems, and carefully managing their grazing has environmental benefits, potentially outweighing some of the harms. These benefits include increasing soil carbon sequestration and improving biodiversity. One system of interest to scientists and policy makers - having been used successfully by farmers - is a short-term, high-density rotational-grazing, known as ‘mob grazing’.

During mob grazing, cattle are grazed, and moved to fresh pasture, in a rotational way. It differs from other rotational grazing types as cattle are managed in high-stocking densities and are moved more frequently than rotational grazing. There is a dearth of research into welfare implications for cattle.

At Newcastle University, we have been measuring changes to the soil and biodiversity with mob grazing for several years. The PhD will build on this to understand the effect of mob grazing on the cattle examining resting and social behaviour of adult cattle and play behaviour in youngstock and investigate how cattle in ‘Mobs’ cope with temperature variation. The project aims to determine if there are optimum densities and rotational frequencies for cattle welfare.

The successful student will be motivated, organized and able to use their own initiative. The research will include field data collection therefore some practical experience with large animals is desirable.

Number Of Awards: 1

Start Date: September 2024

Award Duration: 3 Years

Application Closing Date: 29th February 2024

Supervisors

Dr Fritha Langford, Dr Hannah Davis, Dr Catherine Douglas

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to gain, a minimum 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent in a subject relevant to the proposed PhD project (e.g.animal science, agriculture, animal behaviour, veterinary science or zoology). A masters degree is desirable.

Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills.

The studentship covers fees at the Home rate (UK and EU applicants with pre-settled/settled status and meet the residency criteria). International applicants are welcome to apply but will be required to cover the difference between Home and International fees.

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal 

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.  

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study:  

  • Search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code: 8010F
  • Research Area: Animal Science
  • Select PhD in Agriculture and Rural Development (full time)' - Animal Science' as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Details’ section:  

  • A ‘Personal Statement’ - upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form  
  • The studentship code snes287 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field  
  • When prompted regarding research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal. 

In the ‘Supporting Documentation’ section please upload:

  • your CV 

Contact Details: Dr Fritha Langford Fritha.Langford@newcastle.ac.uk

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