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Anna Hessle

Anna Hessle


I have a master in animal science, and I am an associate professor in nutrition in beef production. Since 1999 I am employed at SLU in Skara.

Beside researching, I am the coordinator of Götala Beef and Lamb Research Centre, SLU's experimental facilities for beef and lamb production. The task implies that I am the contact person when researchers want to conduct an experiment on the farm. The plant manager Jonas Dahl, and I thereby together coordinate the practical logistics at the farm. I am also the head of our section, the Section of Production Systems at the Dept. of Animal Environment and Health.

In leisure hours, I spend my time with my family, sheepdog and farm.


My research mainly concerns different aspects of the nutrition and feeding of cattle with special focus on beef production. I appreciate intradisciplinary research with an applicable approach. During my period as a PhD student and for a following study, the focus was on how to rear growing cattle on semi-natural grasslands and combine production of high-quality carcasses with proper management of the grasslands to maintain biodiversity. Both within the dissertation and afterwards I have studied grazing behaviour and the ecology of the grasslands.

Later, I have been working in various projects were I have been responsible for the nutritional and performance aspects of growing cattle, not specified for grazing systems but also for indoor systems. Sometimes animal nutrition has been the main focus of the projects, but sometimes meat science, economy, animal welfare or parasitology.

Cooperation projects are regulary undertaken. At present, I am in charge of a common research project on beef and lamb production with Västra Götalandsregionen, Hushållningssällskapet Sjuhärad and SLU and an innovation project with industrial partners dealing with surveillance system for grazing cattle and sheep based on digital techniques.

Research networks includes national and international universities and institutes, industrial partners, authorities, non-governmental organizations. In other Nordic countries I cooperate with for example Høgskolen i Innlandet, Norway, and Aarhus University, Denmark. On an EU level I am involved in two projects, Pathways and Grazing4AgroEcology.

My Orcid-address is


At present, I am the main supervisor of PhD student Kristina Holmström, studying economy in pasture-based beef production, and assisting supervisor to Erik Versluijs, working with interactions between grazing livestock and predators. I have also been the main supervisor of PhD Mikaela Jardstedt, who worked with beef cow feeding, and assisting supervisor of VMD Niclas Högberg, working with remote sense techniques for animal welfare assessments in grazing cattle and sheep, PhD Morten Tofastrud, studying ecology of grazing cattle in forests, and Agr. Lic Pernilla Salevid, investigating economy in beef cows. I regularly supervise master and bachelor thesis and give lectures, mostly at SLU and mainly in animal nutrition focused on beef production.

Selected publications

  • Högberg, N., Hessle, A., Lidfors, L., Enweji, N., Höglund, J. 2021. Nematode parasitism affects lying time and overall activity patterns in lambs following pasture exposure around weaning. Veterinary Parasitology 296, 109500.
  • Holmström, K., Kumm, K-I, Andersson, H., Nadeau, E., Arvidsson Segerkvist, K., Hessle, A. 2021. Economic incentives for preserving biodiverse semi-natural pastures with calves from dairy cows. Journal for Nature Conservation 62, 126010.
  • Eriksson, S., Ask-Gullstrand, P., Fikse, W. F., Jonsson, E., Eriksson, J-Å., Stålhammar, H., Wallenbeck, A., Hessle, A. 2020. Different beef breed sires used for crossbreeding with Swedish dairy cows – effects on calving performance and carcass traits. Livestock Science 232, 8 pp.
  • Jardstedt, M., Nadeau, E., Nielsen, M. O., Nørgaard, P., Hessle, A. 2020. The effect of feeding roughages of varying digestibility prepartum on energy status and metabolic profiles in beef cows around parturition. Animals doi: 10.3390/ani10030496.
  • Kumm, K-I., Hessle, A. 2020. Economic comparison between pasture-based beef production and afforestation of abandoned land in Swedish forest districts. Land 9, 42, doi:10.3390/land9020042.
  • Tofastrud, M., Hessle, A., Rekdal, Y., Zimmermann, B. 2020. Weight gain of free-ranging beef cattle grazing in the boreal forest of south-eastern Norway. Livestock Science, in press.
  • Segerkvist, K., Höglund, J., Österlund, H., Wik, C., Högberg, N., Hessle, A. 2020. Automatic weighing as an animal health monitoring tool on pasture. Livestock Science 240, 104157.
  • Hessle, A., Therkildsen, M., Segerkvist, K. 2019. Beef production systems with steers of dairy and dairy x beef breed based on forage and semi-natural pastures. Animals 9, 1064.
  • Hessle, A., Bertilsson, J., Stenberg, B., Kumm, K-I., Sonesson, U. 2017. Combining environmentally and economically sustainable dairy and beef production in Sweden. Agricultural Systems 156, 105-114.
  • Hessle, A., Dahlström, F., Bele, B., Norderhaug, A., Söderström, M. 2015. Effects of breed on foraging sites and diets in dairy cows on mountain pasture. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 10, 334-342.
  • Hessle, A., Dahlström, F., Wallin, K. 2011. Alternative production systems for male Charolais cross-bred cattle using semi-natural grasslands. Acta Agriculturæ Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science 61, 21-33.
  • Hessle, A., Kumm, K-I. 2011. Use of beef steers for profitable management of biologically valuable semi-natural pastures in Sweden. Journal for Nature Conservation 19:3, 131-136.


Researcher at the Department of Applied Animal Science and Welfare (former HMH); Division of Production Systems
Telephone: +4651167143
Postal address:
Box 234
532 23 Skara
Visiting address: Gråbrödragatan 19, Skara