Animal Science student wins international scholarship

Posted on October 01, 2012

As winner Nadia received a cash prize of $1 500 as well as the opportunity to present her research as a 25 minute PowerPoint presentation rather than a poster.

She is currently doing research work for her PhD at the University of California, Davis, researching key protein sources in California to improve production efficiency in high producing dairy cattle; as a result of her research in this area, Nadia was awarded this scholarship.

Abstracts are sent to the CANC committee from across the state to enter the CANC poster competition. A winner is selected based on originality of completed research with sound experimental design and interpretations.

Nadia obtained her BSc (Agric) Animal Science degree from the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2006. She then started her MSc degree through UP, under Prof Lourens Erasmus, while doing her practical project work during a seven month programme abroad, with Dr Peter Robinson at the University of California, Davis. She graduated cum laude with an MSc (Agric) Animal nutrition degree in 2009 and also received the SASAS bronze medal for a meritorious MSc thesis. She also received the AM Bosman Gold medal.

From October 2008 to October 2009 she worked as a Junior Nutritionist at Meadow Feeds in Clearwater, after which she became Nutritionist at the Meadow Feeds mill in Welkom until July 2011.

During this time she published two peer reviewed articles and co-authored two more. She also published one book chapter, with multiple meeting abstracts for the California Animal Nutrition conference as well as the American Dairy Science Association.

In August 2011 she started her PhD studies through the University of Pretoria in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

Her first project was completed in February 2012 on a large scale commercial dairy in California, milking a total of 5000 Holstein cows. They utilised four pens of 320 high producing cows, feeding four treatments over 16 weeks. This was the largest study of its kind ever conducted. The objective was to determine the optimum ratio between the two key protein sources in California, canola meal and dried distillers grains, the main by-product of the corn-starch ethanol industry. Cows fed a diet of 13.5% of the ration dry matter as canola meal, performed the best. However, a higher inclusion of canola meal did not perform as well, which will be the basis for her next project – what was the cause for hampered production at the high canola meal inclusion level? She is planning at least two more projects as part of her PhD degree.

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