• Parkgate, Barony Campus

    DG1 3NE Dumfries

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students


Research activity per year

Personal profile

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 focus around bovine health and production, the use of precision livestock farming (PLF) tools to study health and nutrition problems of ruminants and innovative dairying.
My interests include:

  • PLF technologies for monitoring health, welfare and prodution in cattle
  • Rumen function
  • Metabolic disorders (particularly ruminal acidosis)
  • Ruminant nutrition
  • The ruminal microbiome
  • Dairy production (innovative systems, including cow with calf)


I currently supervise both undergraduate and postgraduate (MSc) level students during their dissertations. 

Previous student dissertation topics include:


  1. An investigation into patterns in the occurrence of specific mastitis pathogens in lactating dairy cows
  2. Lactation performance: outwintering on kale versus housing Holstein Friesian heifers
  3. How does outwintering affect lameness of replacement dairy heifers?
  4. Early and late weaning in dairy-beef cross calves and the effect on growth and health at turnout


  1. An investigation into the effects on finishing cattle performance of feeding a Maxammon-based diet as a total mixed ration (TMR) versus feed components fed separately



Understanding the microbiomes of the ruminant holobiont. 

Dairy Sensors
Identifying best sensor technologies to deliver verifiable health and welfare, environmental and processing benefits for dairy products.

Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) technologies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of pasture based systems. 

RESAS: Precision Livestock Farming
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 dairy farming practices in the Atlantic Region from a social, economic and environmental impact

Horizon 2020: SMARTCOW
Creating an integrated infrastructure for increased research capability and innovation in the European cattle sector.

Commercial Projects
Design, costing, management and analysis of projects; primarily feed and feed additives.



KTIF Keeping Cow with Calf (CWC)
Using a current commercial CWC system to investigate issues around CWC (economic costs, finding markets for the product, health benefits, environmental outcomes) to create a blueprint for others and encourage others to trial the system.

Cow Health Monitor
Diagnostic components of milk headspace in an automated milking system – headspace acetone as a proxy for ketosis in dairy cows, measured through AMS.

Dairy Cattle Health, Welfare and Nutrition
Improving lameness in British dairy cattle: claw health, claw horn disruption and lameness in cattle of standard and high genetic merit.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Studies of the responses of cattle and sheep to rapidly fermentable carbohydrate challenges , University of Glasgow

Nov 2013Jun 2018

Award Date: 22 Jun 2018

Bachelor, Zoology, University of Glasgow

Sept 2009Jun 2013

Award Date: 22 Jun 2013


Dive into the research topics where Holly Ferguson is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or