The 2019 Nick Bird Award has been presented at Harper Adams University, to Olivia Hartshorn, from Staffordshire, for her dissertation on ventilation design in pig finisher houses and its impact on animal performance.
The Nick Bird Award was set up by Reading-based Farmex in recognition of the work carried out by Nick Bird, a director of the company who died in 2013. His 17 years of working in the field of real-time monitoring of pig production has had a significant impact on the industry and, increasingly, other livestock sectors.
The Award – a perpetual trophy and a cheque for £500 – is for an outstanding piece of written work that involves recorded observations of an agricultural process, data analysis and interpretation with demonstrable added value for farmers.
The judges described Olivia’s dissertation as“a complex piece of work resulting in a predictive model for the ‘comfort zone’ of a pig within an intensive ventilated environment based on fan area, pig numbers, and average external temperature”.
The dissertation contained some detailed data analysis which provided a valuable insight into ventilation design and configuration and the effect on animal comfort zone and performance.
Olivia, a Staffordshire agricultural dealer’s daughter, graduated with a first-class honours degree in agricultural engineering. She is now working on a local pig farm in County Longford, Ireland, where, she said, she is gaining invaluable hands-on experience to complement theory.