Feeding trial at Nötcenter Viken

Last changed: 28 May 2024
Several heifers at the feeding table. Photo.

Are you looking for a master project and are interested in ruminant nutrition and environmental sustainability? Here is an exciting opportunity to participate in a feed trial within the knowledge centre “SustAinimal” as part of the PhD project “Lifetime net GHG emissions and contribution to the food system from dairy cows fed best practice diets.”

The rearing period is an important phase for a dairy enterprise since pregnant dairy heifers are the future dairy cows. Different dietary strategies during this period are expected to affect feed intake and enteric methane emissions, while variations in ration digestibility will impact growth rates and overall efficiency. Despite the importance of this period, it is often overlooked in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies, which typically rely on table values instead of actual on-farm data. This project aims to collect on-farm data during this period to provide a more accurate assessment of the environmental performance of a dairy herd.

We are seeking one or two dedicated and enthusiastic master’s students who will join our team during a study at Lantmännen’s experimental dairy farm, “Nötcenter Viken,” located in Falköping. This opportunity is ideal for students interested in gaining hands-on experience in animal science and agricultural research.

The experiment will take place from mid-August to early October, and the student/-s is/are expected to be on-site in Falköping for the majority of this period. The role involves collecting feed and fecal samples to assess feed digestibility, as well as conducting body condition scoring and body weight measurements to monitor animal growth. Additionally, the student/-s will gain experience using a GreenFeed unit to measure enteric methane emissions directly from the heifers. Part of the responsibilities includes assisting in training the heifers to become accustomed to the equipment used in the experiment.

This position offers a unique opportunity to gain practical experience working with a diverse collection of samples and measurement techniques, utilizing advanced equipment for environmental and animal health research, and managing real-world experimental procedures in an agricultural setting. The ideal candidate/-s must be prepared for a lot of practical work at sometimes “non-office hours”. You must have a strong interest in animal science, agricultural research, and fieldwork, and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.


Specific Objectives:

·       Evaluate individual feed intake and digestibility of different forage sources when fed to pregnant dairy heifers.

·       Assess enteric methane emissions and estimate total greenhouse gas emissions from pregnant dairy heifers.

·       Assess productivity responses in terms of growth rate and feed use efficiency from pregnant dairy heifers.


Contact us!

If you are passionate about animal science and eager to gain valuable research experience, we encourage you to contact us!

If you are interested and would like more information about the project, please send an email to: Markos.Managos@slu.se.

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