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Investigating the mechanical properties of temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical fodder

Study level

Master of Philosophy

Honours

Faculty/Lead unit

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Supervisors

Dr Mark Harrison
Position
Senior Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr Floren Plaza
Position
Senior Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty

External supervisors

  • Dr Karen Harper, UQ

Overview

There is strong, qualitative evidence that fodder crops produced in the tropics are 'tougher' and less nutritious than fodder crops produced in sub-tropical and temperate regions.

However, tools that can quantify the mechanical properties of fodder crops, particularly those with direct relevance to feeding and nutrition, are lacking.

Research activities

As part of this research project you will:

  • review the available methods to quantify the mechanical properties of fodder
  • narrow down the methods with relevance to feeding and nutrition
  • analyse a range of fodders produced in temperate, sub-tropical and sub-tropical areas and measure their mechanical properties.

Outcomes

The overall aim of the project is to develop a series of tests that predict the ease with which herbivores can disrupt the structure of fodder and determine the impact of fodder mechanical properties on fodder intake and nutritional value.

Skills and experience

If you have experience in the following scientific areas and strong practical skills it would be well regarded:

  • fibre mechanical properties
  • lignocellulosic biomass analysis
  • mastication of fodder by stock

Scholarships

You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round

Contact

Contact Dr Mark Harrison for more information.