William Machin Scholarship allows full-time focus on diet research

20 September 2021 | News

Konagh Garrett’s research shows that giving farm animals a more diverse diet brings a whole smorgasbord of benefits.

The PhD student said this will also improve animal production, welfare, and reduce the negative environmental impact of practices.

She is a recipient of the William Machin Doctoral Scholarship for Excellence one of three scholarships giving doctoral students the opportunity to focus on their research by offering financial support and includes the Lincoln University Doctoral Scholarship and the BK Otway Education Foundation Doctoral Scholarship.  They all cover tuition fees and offer an annual stipend.

Applications for all three close 1 October.

“I am incredibly grateful for the generosity of the William Machin Doctoral Scholarship for Excellence and its support throughout my PhD, allowing me to focus 100% on my education and studies,” Konagh said.

“Although monocultures are easy in terms of pastoral management our research indicates that animals may tire from the repeated diet presentation and that it could be a win-win-win in terms of improved production, welfare, and reduced environmental impact when offered a diverse or varied diet.”

She said her research had explored a number of single forage diets and different combinations and presentations of diverse diets

“One of my studies compared weight gains of lambs finished on lucerne alone, to free choice from lucerne, chicory, plantain, and ryegrass, and a varied sequence where animals had access to two forages in the morning and the remaining two in the afternoon.

 “A 67% difference in production compared to a high-quality Lucerne diet highlights the promising potential of such functionally diverse diets. Further, my research showed the diverse diets we explored can reduce urinary nitrogen concentration compared to a ryegrass-based diet by 30%.”

If you are intending to study for your PhD, apply now for a doctoral scholarship.