Part of the 4TU.Federation
Resilience Engineering

Akke Kok

I obtained a BSc degree in Biology (2011) and MSc degree in Environmental Biology (2013) from Utrecht University. During my MSc, I assessed the impact of alternative weaning and separation methods on weaning distress after prolonged suckling in dairy calves. After graduation, I started as a PhD student in the Animal Production Systems group of Wageningen University & Research. In collaboration with the Adaptation Physiology group and the Business Economics group, I investigated impacts of short or no dry periods in dairy cows on cow behaviour, milk yield, cash flows, and greenhouse gas emissions. After completing my PhD in 2018 (cum laude), I have been working as a postdoctoral fellow with the Animal Production Systems group and the Adaptation Physiology group of Wageningen University & Research. Currently, I am working as a post-doc within the 4TU-programme DeSIRE on measuring and modelling resilience of individual animals.

In livestock systems, some animals have a better health status or performance than others, despite the same challenges imposed by internal and external factors. For example, the period around calving is a critical period with a high disease risk for dairy cows, but part of the cows manages this transition in good health and can cope with the next lactation. Moreover, management factors may influence the resilience of herds or individual animals. For example, a change in management can reduce the number or severity of challenges for the animals. With analysis of variation in behaviour and physiology of individual farm animals (cows, pigs) and their management in relation to health and performance, the resilience of individuals may be better predicted before the onset of diseases. Also, this may give insight in the impact of management factors on resilience of individuals and the herd.