Smart-Farm data for dairy cows

Leveraging Smart-Farm technology to improve the health and productivity of dairy cows during transition and early lactation

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

The “transition period” for dairy cows is from late pregnancy, to early lactation and subsequent mating.  This study is based on data measured with modern dairy technology (such as MooMonitors, nutritional intakes and precise milking records) to improve management processes related to cow health and production during the vulnerable transition and early lactation periods. The broad goals of the research are to improve cow health, fertility and productivity, and reduce culling, which in turn appeals to society’s expectations of cow welfare and may reduce greenhouse gas emissions per litre of milk produced.

In the first two years of this project, behaviour, reproduction, culling and productivity records obtained from previous years at TIA Dairy Research Facility will be used to (1) model the date of calving more than two weeks prior to the event and (2) provide baseline records of normal and abnormal behaviour changes after calving. Early indicators of compromised health or poor productivity will be identified and correlated with factors that could potentially be used as management interventions.

In the second and third years of the project, new data will be collected to study various transition management regimes (e.g. nutritional management via alternative forages) and their effects on cow health and productivity in the subsequent lactations.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Ian Hunt


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 $28,854 per annum (2022 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.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

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:

  • Minimum of an Honours degree in agriculture with>=80% pass mark.
  • Demonstrated ability in analyzing large scale data sets.
  • Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • R or Python programming experience.
  • Very strong undergraduate marks in scientific subjects.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Ian Hunt to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. 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 by the advertised outcome date.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience