• Easter Bush, Roslin Institute Building

    EH25 9RG Midlothian

    United Kingdom


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

My main area of interest is dairy cattle breeding and identification of appropriate selection goals that meet as many stakeholders requirements as possible. The number of traits incorporated into the selection goal for all species is increasing which brings challenges when traits have unfavourable correlations. Of particular note is the mobilization of body energy by dairy cows - some is desirable since it adds to efficiency in both economic and environmental terms. Too much mobilisation creates unwanted correlated responses in fertility, health and welfare and concomitant losses in environmental impact efficiency. Balancing traits according to their value requires economic values that are intriguing to calculate when the trait has societal value. The construction of overall indices is an area of great interest since it alone produces the change in the national dairy cattle population. Bringing component science into systems work has unique aspects of interest especially in identifying where tradeoffs have to occur and what the magnitude of the tradeoff is.


Getting research results out to farmers and causing (positive) change in their behaviour as a result produces personal rewards especially as their profit increases. Genomic selection is an infant technology and only time will tell how successful it will ultimately be. Improving tools over time will be required. Overall, genetic selection that includes any phenotype is of interest in all species. Determining the best route to market in the shortest time also brings different, but interesting nonetheless, challenges.


I teach on the SRUC Agriculture degree course to Animal Science and Agriculture students. I lecture to practising Vets on the Diploma in Bovine Reproduction delivered at Liverpool University.

As part of the Agritech Centre, Agrimetrics, I led on the development of a CPD course, Vetnomics, a course for the agri and vet industries practioners on genetic and genomic improvement in livestock.

I also teach in an ad-hoc manner to a number of audiences around the country but usually farmers on courses organised by Vet practices, RABDF and other extension services.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Nov 2003

Bachelor, University of Nottingham


Award Date: 1 Jul 1981

External positions

British Cattle Breeders Club

1 Jan 2018 → …

European Association of Animal Production


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Research Output

Dairy cows: In the age of the genotype, #phenotypeisking

Coffey, M., 1 Apr 2020, In : Animal Frontiers. 10, 2, p. 19-22 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    1 Downloads (Pure)

    Predicting bovine tuberculosis status of dairy cows from mid-infrared spectral data of milk using deep learning

    Denholm, SJ., Brand, W., Mitchell, A., Wells, AM., Krzyzelewski, T., Smith, SL., Wall, E. & Coffey, MP., Oct 2020, In : Journal of Dairy Science. 103, 10, p. 9355-9367 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 2 Downloads (Pure)

    Energy profiling of dairy cows from routine milk mid-infrared analysis: Energy Profiling From MIR Spectra

    Smith, SL., Denholm, SJ., Coffey, MP. & Wall, E., Dec 2019, In : Journal of Dairy Science. 102, 12, p. 11169-11179 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 4 Citations (Scopus)
    14 Downloads (Pure)

    The genetic architecture of bovine telomere length in early-life and association with animal fitness

    Ilska-Warner, JJ., Psifidi, A., Seeker, LA., Wilbourn, R. V., Underwood, S. L., Fairlie, J., Whitelaw, B., Nussey, D. H., Coffey, MP. & Banos, G., 25 Oct 2019, In : Frontiers in Genetics. 10, 1048.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 10 Downloads (Pure)

    Association of milk MIR-derived body energy traits with fertility parameters in cows

    Smith, SL., Coffey, MP. & Wall, E., Feb 2018.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


    Queens Anniversary Prize

    Roberts, Dave (Recipient) & Coffey, Mike (Recipient), 2019


    Queen's Anniversary Prize

    Wall, Eileen (Recipient), Coffey, Mike (Recipient) & Roberts, Dave (Recipient), Oct 2017