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PhD studentship “The right cow for New Zealand hill country”

This project aims to use a series of existing data sets and an ongoing research programme to examine beef breeding cow performance with the aim of identifying the most efficient and productive types of cows for New Zealand farming systems.  The PhD programme will involve exploring these datasets in depth, with the aim of identifying relationships between cow type (primarily live weight, BCS), production and efficiency. Particular emphasis will be placed on identifying measurements that can be made early in life to predict lifetime performance, and new traits to be considered for selection will be investigated.

The data sets available for this project build a comprehensive set of data on which to base these studies, and include a 10-year Massey University study, a Beef Progeny Test programme (on-going) which is following cow performance as well as growth and carcase quality, and a Maternal cow data set, with the latter two collected on commercial farms. Genotypes are available on most of the animals within the datasets.

There is scope to take this project down either an economic modelling route, devising selection objectives for breeding cows, or down a genomics route, looking for markers for appropriate traits.

The student would be enrolled at Massey University, with joint supervision from Massey University (www.massey.ac.nz) and AbacusBio Ltd (www.abacusbio.com). The student would be based at AbacusBio Ltd in Dunedin and have opportunity to experience a commercial consultancy environment in addition to the academic environment as a Massey student.

The candidate should have an Honours or Masters degree in agriculture, animal science, genetics or mathematics with a minimum GPA of 7.5, and be available to start the programme in the first half of 2019.

This is a fully-funded PhD project with research funded by BLNZ Genetics and the student funded by Massey University. The student will receive an annual stipend of $25,000 p.a. and university fees.

For enquiries please contact:

A/Prof Rebecca Hickson R.Hickson@massey.ac.nz

Dr Jason Archer

Professor Dorian Garrick D.Garrick@massey.ac.nz

Professor Steve Morris S.T.Morris@massey.ac.nz

To apply, please send your CV, cover letter and academic transcript to R.Hickson@massey.ac.nz by 15th October 2018.