Rights: The University of Waikato Published 1 March 2006 Download

Jenny Jago is an animal behaviour expert working on DairyNZ's Greenfield Project. Her aim is to work with cows to create a robotic milking system that suits both cows and their farmers. Jenny has always been interested in science, especially in animal behaviour. Here she explains how she ended up working on this project.


Jenny Jago (DairyNZ) 

I was brought up on a dairy farm in Stratford, Taranaki. I can remember sitting on Dad’s dairy, on the milking shed roof, looking down at the cows recording how often they used these little molasses licks, and doing lots of studies around them.

I had a really keen interest in Science, and I did a lot of Science and Maths through school and did lots of studies on snails and slaters and all that sort of thing. Then I went through university and did animal behaviour. That’s the area I studied when I was doing my PhD, but that was with bulls - so I’ve changed from bulls to cows. Before that, I did work with deer - also in the behaviour area.

Throughout my university training, although I had an interest in animal behaviour, I took a broad range of topics and subjects. So as well as the animal behaviour I did a bit of management, I did a bit of physics, I did a bit of maths, a bit of computing — so quite a varied background. Since I’ve come into this project, it’s been really valuable because, obviously, we’re working on the development of a big system, so as well as having the expertise in behaviour it’s been really important to be able to have an understanding of these various areas.