And that’s a wrap

      No Comments on And that’s a wrap

The thesis has officially been submitted, the presentation will given on Monday so that’s my masters completed. I have a few weeks to breath before the I start the next stage of my life. But those weeks will quickly get filled with preparations for this next stage. It’s been a really hard year, sprinkled with amazing moments and memories. So I’m excited to be done and to move on. The future is bright, so I need to pick myself up and brush off the dust and continuing ‘taking the bull by the horns’.

So I hope you enjoyed accompanying me on this adventure and best of luck with your lives.

Go n-éirghidh an bóthar libh – may the road rise up to meet you.

Goodbye Edinburgh

      Comments Off on Goodbye Edinburgh

My summer in Edinburgh has been magnificent, it was tough with everything going on at home but the support I received from SRUC was absolutely amazing.

As I approached the plane I got to see the most beautiful sunset which was the nicest way to finish my adventure in Edinburgh.

I am continuing to work on my thesis for the deadline, I’m exhausted but its good to be home. I took the weekend off as I didn’t want to get burned out and fall at the final thesis hurdle. I went adventuring with my dog, we came across an apple tree in a common area so I decided to pick some. This involved me gently knocking the apples off the branches and trying to catch them before my dog did. She did mange to rob a couple but it was great fun. I even had one apple fall on my head, gravity still works I guess.

Pre-Final thesis deadline

      Comments Off on Pre-Final thesis deadline

So the pre-final deadline is tomorrow, which as you can imagine is stressful enough but I also I have a flight to catch, so it looks like I shall be searching for a place to plug my laptop in and will be typing till I get home.

My results have come out even better then I could have hoped, they show that genetics, diet and allocation method all have a major effect on milk footprints. This means that my literature review ties neatly into my results section which is a major relief, as time is too tight to go changing the literature review too much.

Striking a work/life balance…

      Comments Off on Striking a work/life balance…

I have been continuing to work on my thesis, and the results from the data have given me plenty to work on. This is great but does mean I’m glued to the computer trying to get everything done while still preforming the juggling act that is my life. My mom is still in a lot of pain but is getting slowly better, slow progress is still progress. So overall my life/work balance in currently favouring the proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.

My breaks form the thesis consist of me getting to go outside for a jog but I’ll forever be thankful for being situated right beside the beautiful canal. It has so much flora and fauna that you just wouldn’t expect to see in a big city like Edinburgh.

The best thing is that the biodiversity is encouraged to grow and expand. They have bee boxes on the opposite bank of the canal, they don’t cut the vegetation too short along the banks so birds and ducks can make their nests.

It was so great to see active bee boxes as I have seen too many bee boxes empty on my travels, it is well known that the number these essential little guys is declining, the video below by the FAO sums up the situation in a quick and factual manner.

FAO: A world without bees.

I managed to get a photo of some ducks and swans in the canal, you can see the all the different types of vegetation, ideal for bees and other wildlife. My other attempts at photographing different birds have not been very successful as they blend into the vegetation which is good for them but not so good for my photograph attempts.

Now to get back to the project, currently my findings from the data are showing that diets, genetics and allocation methods have major effects on the carbon footprints of cows.

The animals that have been part of the program include control cows and select cows, control cows have the same genetic merit as the national herd average, the select cows have a high genetic merit. So on average this means the select cows have a higher milk average then the control cows. This in turn means that the select cows have a lower carbon footprint per litre of milk, when the control and select cows are on the same diet. So the below tables are just on the By product diet, this diet consists of by product feeds generated during different processes, e.g wheat distellers during the distillery process. These tables show the different allocation methods and the difference between the control and select cows. Once the thesis is complete I will upload the results for all of the different diets on the results page but for now this is just a taster of what I am working on.

Economic – By Product Control
BPC_2012 BPC_2013 BPC_2014 BPC_2015 Average
System kg CO2-eq 553,008 514,893 461,791 506,265 508989.3
Milk prod (L) 499,421 415,240 380,634 438,387 433420.5
Milk EI (kg CO2-eq / L) 1.107298 1.239989 1.213217 1.154836 1.178835
Mass – By Product Control
BPC_2012 BPC_2013 BPC_2014 BPC_2015 Average
System kg CO2-eq 2,316,963 2,150,529 1,875,617 2,000,227 2085834
Milk prod (L) 499,421 414,240 380,634 438,387 433170.5
Milk EI (kg CO2-eq / L) 4.639297 5.179 4.927616 4.562695 4.827152
Economic – By Product Select
BPS_2012 BPS_2013 BPS_2014 BPS_2015 Average
System kg CO2-eq 553,104 529,255 551,627 640,040 568506.5
Milk prod (L) 561,972 532,108 539,165 548,249 545373.5
Milk EI (kg CO2-eq / L) 0.98422 0.994581 1.023114 1.167425 1.042335
Mass – By Product Select
BPS_2012 BPS_2013 BPS_2014 BPS_2015 Average
System kg CO2-eq 2,240,678 2,211,958 2,288,705 2,585,180 2331630.25
Milk prod (L) 561,972 532,108 539,165 548,249 545373.5
Milk EI (kg CO2-eq / L) 3.987171 4.15697 4.244908 4.715335 4.276096

From the tables above you can see that mass allocation average the kg CO2-eq per litre of milk is nearly 4 times as much as the economic allocation average the kg CO2-eq per litre of milk. And it is possible to see that the Select cows have a lower average the kg CO2-eq per litre of milk then the control cows as they produce high yields of milk on average.

Now I shall go back to the writing the thesis and generating the necessary statistics, maybe if I’m lucky I might manage to have enough time to go for a jog by the canal.

The juggling continues…

      Comments Off on The juggling continues…

So I’m assuming after my last post you’re wanting to hear how my mom is first, well shes doing okay, but shes a typical Irish mammy and therefor what we deem okay and what she deems okay are too different things, but regardless shes a trooper. I’ll forever be grateful for the fact that she thankfully didn’t re-break her back but nonetheless she is still in serious trouble, re-aggravating an injury like that is far from ideal. So my juggling act continues, but it must be said that I’d choose this juggling act every time if it means she’ll be okay.

I crunched the data enough and I finally have the results. AgRe Calc and Feedprint NL (Click here for the links) are great, but since I was going into the background of the tools I had to go though nearly 80 excel files and if one error happened I would have to start from scratch but regardless I finally completed it. So now its time to turn these results into understandable figures and statistics. Also since I now know the ending to this story I am going to be beefing up my literature review and I aim to have a solid draft thesis completed in two weeks.