Dr Mizeck Chagunda

Scotland's Rural College

Research Interests

One key problem facing modern dairy production in both large intensive and smallholder farming systems (with either automatic milk systems or conversational parlours) is on how to better understand and deal with the apparent antagonistic relationships and trade-offs that exist among biological and environmental traits. The questions are, how to identify and utilise indicators that help to predict observed phenotypes and associations? How to effectively apply technologies and bio-models to optimise improvement strategies and the contribution of livestock to food security? Which genotypes are appropriate for which production systems? How to mitigate biological inefficiencies that lead to environmental impact?

Our team is interested in these and similar questions relating to the causes and consequences of biological and environmental efficiency or lack thereof.

My past and present research has been in the areas of bio-modeling; dairy systems; animal breeding strategies; the contribution of livestock to sustainable livelihoods and food security; and the impact of livestock genetic merit for yield and production system on economic, environmental and social elements of sustainability of dairy farming.  This has included developing and testing bio-models for detecting metabolic disorders, reproductive status and degree of mastitis in intensive high yielding systems using bio-markers measured in milk. These bio-models were included as embedded software for a commercially available dairy solution that has gone on to win three prestigious European awards. With colleagues, we have also developed models-for monitoring cow performance utilising mobile phone technology. Current work includes quantifying enteric methane and other greenhouse gases (GHG) from ruminant production systems.


  • 2012 - Professional Certified Animal Scientist (R. Anim. Sci.): British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) Register of Certified Animal Scientists; Technologists
  • 2003-2006 - Postdoc, BioModelling in Reproduction and Health of Dairy Cows, University of Aarhus, Denmark
  • 2000 - PhD, Animal Breeding and Genetics (Magna Cum Laude), Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany
  • 1996 - MSc, Animal Science (Animal Breeding and Genetics concentration), University of Malawi
  • 1991 - BSc, Agriculture (Animal Science concentration), University of Malawi

PhD Students

  • Oluyinka Abejide - Across-Country Dairy Genetic Evaluation for Sub- Saharan Africa
  • Grace Smith -  Monitoring individual cow nutritional status

Selected Publications

  • Chagunda, M.G.G., 2013. Opportunities and challenges in the use of the Laser Methane Detector to monitor enteric methane emissions from ruminants. Animal 7(s2): 394 -400
  • Chagunda, M.G.G., Munthali, D.P., Gondwe, T.N., Wood, B. and Roberts, D.J. 2013. An innovative approach to integrated training for smallholder dairying The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension (forthcoming)
  • Chagunda, M.G.G., Ross, D., Rooke, J., Yan, T., Douglas, J-L, Poret, L., Neil R. McEwan, N.R. Teeranavattanakul, P. and Roberts, D.J. 2013.  Measurement of enteric methane from ruminants using a hand-held Laser Methane Detector. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A – Animal Science doi: 10.1080/09064702.2013.797487
  • Chiumia, D., Chagunda, M.G.G., Macrae,A.I. and Roberts, D.J. 2013. Predisposing factors for involuntary culling in Holstein-Friesian dairy cows.  Journal of Dairy Research 80:45-50
  • Kawonga B., Chagunda, M.G.G., Gondwe,T.N., Gondwe, S.R. and Banda, J.W. 2012. Use of Lactation Models to Develop a Cow Performance Monitoring Tool in Smallholder Dairy Farms Archives Animal Breeding,  55: 427-437
  • Kawonga, B., Chagunda, M.G.G., Gondwe,T.N., Gondwe, S.R. and Banda, J.W. 2012.  Characterisation of smallholder dairy production systems using animal welfare and milk quality. Tropical Animal Health and Production 44:1429–1435
  • Banda, L.J. Kamwanja, L.A., Chagunda M.G.G., Ashworth C.J. and Roberts, D.J. 2012. Status of dairy cow management and fertility in smallholder farms in Malawi.Tropical Animal Health and Production. 44:715–727
  • Tebug, S.F., Kasulo, V. Chikagwa-Malunga,S., Wiedemann,S., Roberts, D.J. and Chagunda, M.G.G. 2012. Smallholder dairy production in Northern Malawi: production practices and constraints Tropical Animal Health and Production. 44 (1), 55-62