Alan Hurley

Doctor of Philosophy, (Animal Science)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Genetics of Feed Intake and Efficiency in Grazing Dairy Cows

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Dairy feed efficiency is a highly desirable characteristic to improve as feed constitutes up to 80% of the total costs on dairy farms. Improving milk value output per unit feed intake without any repercussions on other animal characteristics is highly desirable. Mr Hurley investigated several different approaches to measure feed efficiency as well as estimate the phenotypic and genetic (co)variances with other performance, and fertility traits using the appropriate statistical models. His work has found that considerable genetic variation in feed intake exist among cows, even at the same production level. He found that including feed efficiency in the national breeding objective for Irish dairy cattle will generate animals with improved feed efficiency.   

Professor Nicolas Lopez-Villalobos
Dr Donagh Berry
Dr Jennifer Burke