Doktorand Lotten Wahlund

Senast ändrad: 15 november 2021
Porträttbild på Lotten Wahlund. Foto.

Lotten hopes that her PhD work will contribute with new knowledge and ideas if virtual fencing for grazing animals could be used to contribute to a more sustainable food production in Sweden.

What background do you have? 

I grow up on a farm just outside Uppsala. I have always had a big interest in animals and animal behavior. My early goal in life was to be a veterinarian but during my education at the agricultural college Jällaskolan my interest for preventive actions for a more animal-friendly livestock farming increased which made me change direction. In 2008 I graduated with a master in animal science (Husdjursagronom) at SLU. My master thesis was about developing a sustainable outdoor system for cattle during winter that was both good for animal welfare, the working environment and economy for the farmer and the environment as in leakage of P and climate gases.

What previous experience do you have? 

During my master thesis, I noticed that applied research and working with interdisciplinary projects was something that really appealed me. This is also why I until now have been working as a project manager for applied research- and innovation projects at a research institute (RISE) for more than 10 years. The projects I have led and participated in have covered many different subject areas and animal species. But sustainable outdoor systems for livestock farming that are good both for animals, the environment and humans has always been my favorite topic and also the area where I have worked with the most.

During the last three years I have led a project at RISE where we have looked into the possibilities and challenges of using virtual fencing for grazing cattle in Sweden. The interest for this technique is increasing within the agricultural industry thou it among other things gives great opportunities to graze areas and landscapes that today isn´t attractive or even possibly to fence up. The project finished in June 2021. One of the outcomes from the study was that virtual fencing is not legal to use on animals in Sweden. The Swedish Board of Agricultural (Jordbruksverket) want´s more knowledge about if and how the animals are affected considering stress and animal welfare when using the technique. Depending on results from upcoming research studies it may be possible to use virtual fencing in Sweden in the future.

Why have you applied for this position? 

My PhD will focus om virtual fencing for cattle and the major reason why I applied for this position is based on my previous experience of the technique and to work with a topic that interests and engages the farmers. As said before, projects with an interdisciplinary approach and an applicability are something that’s really appeals me. And I believe virtual fencing for grazing animals is such a topic. It involves many different areas such as animal behavior and welfare, biodiversity and land use, digitalization and much more.

What are your hopes and expectations for your work in SustAinimal?  

My expectations of SustAinimal is to be part of a large forum for collaboration and knowledge exchange. Where my hope is that the results from the research within my PhD will contribute with new knowledge and ideas if, how and in what way the technology of virtual fencing for grazing animals (if approved in the future) could be used to contribute to a more sustainable food production in Sweden in the future.

Why do you think this is important?

If we are to investigate how animal production will look like in the future, we need knowledge and understanding in many different areas, which I believe will be possible within SustAinimal due to the collaboration between the many areas of expertise.

Why do you want to do this work? 

I am happy to be a part of this because I am curious to see if the technique of virtual fencing can or will change the way we see and uses grazing animal in the future.