Lucerne is an important dryland pasture species however it can produce an oestrogenic compound called coumestrol. The fecundity of ewes can be lowered if they eat lucerne containing high levels of coumestrol during the mating period. This means fewer twins and more singles, which reduces lambing percentage. Rachel’s project isolated the factors with potential to increase the coumestrol levels of lucerne. The management of ewes during the mating season to avoid suppressed ovulation was also investigated. This enabled management strategies to be developed to mitigate the risk of depressed ovulation rate in ewes grazing lucerne during the mating season. This project was supervised by Prof. Derrick Moot and Assoc. Prof. Graham Barrell.
After completing her PhD Rachel moved to England where she is currently a Data & Insight Manager (Crop Nutrients) at Anglo American.