Investigating low emissions feed technologies for improved profitability of the Tasmanian livestock sector

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

29 October 2021

Campus

Cradle Coast

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Significant research has been undertaken to find lower emission feed additives that can reduce methane production in ruminants. While some low emissions feed additives are nearing commercialisation, there is need to move beyond the biological understanding to one in which the adaptive aspects of the technology are evaluated in the context of varying environmental and management conditions.  This includes finding effective delivery mechanisms for extensive grazing situations which is particularly important for Tasmanian’s livestock sector which is a pasture-based system in comparison to confinement and feedlots systems where much of the research has been undertaken.

While the emissions mitigation potential of several feed supplements is promising, farmer adoption of new feed technologies may be low unless there is demonstrable on-farm benefit. This project will combine in-field research and whole farm modelling to move beyond a biological understanding to one in which the technological, economic, and social impacts of the low emission feeds can be evaluated. Here we will explore practical and safe feeding approaches for delivery of low emissions feed technologies in a grazing situation and quantify key productivity performance measures including feed conversion efficiency and liveweight gain. The project will also take a whole farm system analysis approach in which carbon prices, feed cost and varying abatement scenarios will be considered using appropriate stochastic approaches, such as Mont Carlo sampling. This step will yield probabilistic estimates in the cost and profitability of feed technologies, accounting for recent and future changes in costs and prices. Whole farm system analysis including computation of greenhouse gas metrics and determination of marginal abatement cost curves (MACC) to demonstrate the relative trade-offs between cost and abatement potential for feed supplementation option accounting for lifetime GHG emissions, net present value, and discount rates.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Richard Rawnsley

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements and the following additional eligibility criteria specific to this project:

  • PhDs at UTAS require the equivalent to an Australian bachelors degree with upper second class Honours or higher
  • Must have current driver’s licence
  • Must be willing to undertake domestic travel
  • Must be willing to work independently

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Knowledge of and experience working in agriculture

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in agricultural research

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, A/Prof Richard Rawnsley, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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