Teagasc PhD Walsh Scholarship

Walsh Scholarship Ref. 2020004

Scholarship title

Realizing the full potential of liquid feeding to reduce feed cost per kg gain in pigs

Supervisor(s)

Dr Peadar Lawlor (Teagasc, Moorepark), Prof John O’Doherty (University College Dublin), Dr Gillian Gardiner (Waterford Institute of Technology)

Duration

4 years

Funding information

Teagasc Core Funding & Teagasc Walsh Scholarship

Value of the scholarship (per annum)

The scholarship funding is €22,000 per annum and includes

contribution to University fees of up to a maximum of €6,000 per annum

Closing date and time

Monday 6th April 2020 at 5pm GMT

Commencement date

October 2020

Post summary

Liquid feeding is a key research area as more than 70% of Irish pigs are liquid-fed. This project aims to improve the feed efficiency, and hence reduce the feed cost per kg gain, of liquid-fed pigs by minimising feed wastage and preventing spoilage of liquid feed in mixing tanks, pipes and troughs. The student will determine optimum feeding management (No. feed splits/day, trough sensor positioning), system hygiene, and feeding system infrastructure (restricted long-trough vs ad-libitum short-trough and trough positioning) to improve feed efficiency in pigs. Results will be verified in a case study on a commercial pig unit and a cost-benefit analysis, using the Teagasc Pig Production Model, prepared. System guidelines for liquid feeding will result. The work will be a combination of animal trials and laboratory analysis with the opportunity to conduct novel interdisciplinary research across areas such as animal nutrition, microbiology and molecular biology. The student will also receive discipline-specific and generic skills graduate training and will complete 30 credits of course work. The student will be based at Teagasc Moorepark but will be registered at UCD and will have the opportunity to spend time at the WIT and UCD collaborator sites.

Standard duties and responsibilities of the scholarship

·         Literature review on liquid feeding of grow-finisher pigs

·         Preparation of protocols and ethics and licence applications for animal experiments

·         Animal work (maintaining records, sampling, weighing etc) on the following project tasks:

·      Optimising feeding management on a short trough sensor controlled liquid feeding system to improve feed efficiency in grow-finisher pigs

·      Optimising liquid feeding system hygiene to improve feed efficiency in grow-finisher pigs

·      Optimising liquid feeding system infrastructure to improve feed efficiency in grow-finisher pigs

·      On-farm case study to verify & demonstrate results from above tasks in a commercial setting

·         Planning and conducting laboratory analyses on samples from animal trials including biofilm analysis of feed pipes/tanks, culture-based microbiological analyses of feeding system swabs and feed samples, microbial community (high-throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing) analyses of feed, physicochemical analysis of feed etc

·         Data collation and statistical analysis

·         Preparation of reports, publications and conference papers, as well as oral and poster presentations

 

Person specification

Qualifications

Essential

·         Applicants should hold or expect to attain, as a minimum a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in Agricultural Science, Animal Science, Veterinary Science, or a related discipline.

Desirable

·         A Masters in Agricultural Science, Animal Science, Veterinary Science, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biology, or a related discipline.

Knowledge & Experience

Essential

·         Experience of working with animals

·         Experience in laboratory techniques e.g. Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Nutrition etc

Desirable

·         Experience in/knowledge of some/all of the following: feed analysis, culture-based microbiological techniques, high throughput sequencing-based microbiome analysis

·         Experience of statistical analysis

·         Knowledge of pig production

Skills & Competencies

Essential

·         Excellent laboratory, data analysis and IT skills, organizational skills and communication skills (both written and oral)

·         Ability to work as part of a team as well as under own initiative

·         Ability to work under pressure to meet project deadlines

·         Flexibility and ability to problem-solve

·         Applicants whose first language is not English must have completed an English Language Test (TOEFL/IELTS).

·         Full drivers licence

Desirable

·         Individual authorisation under Scientific Animal Protection legislation (personal licence)

Further information

For any informal queries, please contact

Dr Peadar Lawlor, +353 (0)25 42217; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prof. John O’Doherty, +353 (0)1 7167128 / 6012161; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Application procedure

Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a letter of interest simultaneously to:

Dr. Peadar Lawlor (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); Prof. John O’Doherty (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Dr. Gillian Gardiner (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)