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Holly Ferguson

Precision Dairying Scientist
Future Farming Systems - Dairy Research and Innovation Centre

Research interests 

I have a background in metabolic diseases of cattle and sheep and the use of precision technologies – such as rumination/activity collars and pH boluses – to allow early detection of diseases. My research interests are in bovine health and production and the use of precision livestock farming (PLF) tools to study health and nutrition problems of ruminants.
My interests include:

  • PLF technologies for monitoring health and nutrition of cattle
  • rumen function
  • metabolic disorders (particularly ruminal acidosis in cattle)
  • ruminant nutrition
  • the ruminal microbiome

My current work includes:

  • commercially funded dairy feed trials
  • investigating combinations of sensors to monitor health and nutrition in cattle
  • investigating claw health and lameness in cattle
  • acetone in milk headspace as a diagnostic tool for determining ketosis in dairy cows

Selected research projects

RESAS: Precision Livestock Farming  
The use of PLF technologies and combinations of sensors to increase early detection of health and nutrition problems in dairy cows

Interreg Atlantic Area: Dairy-4-Future
Quantifying the effects of innovative farming practices (innovative crop practices, PLF and systems practices) on dairy farms in the Atlantic region
Horizon 2020: SMARTCOW
Standardising research methodologies and creating transnational (EU) access to leading research facilities

Cow Health Monitoring
Diagnostic components of milk headspace – measuring milk headspace acetone to determine ketosis in dairy cows through an automated milking system (AMS)

Dairy Cattle Health, Welfare and Nutrition
Improving foot health of British dairy farms - investigating claw health, claw horn disruption and lameness in cattle of standard and high genetic merit


Dr Holly Ferguson

Precision Dairying Scientist

Telephone: 01387 263961