Dr Austen Ashfield




+44 (0) 2890 255 673

Research Group

Farm and Household Economics

Research Interests

  • Bioeconomic modelling
  • Farm level policy evaluation


Austen’s PhD research focused on developing a bio-economic model of Irish dairy calf-to-beef production systems to explore the factors affecting profitability within these systems.  Following on from his PhD, Austen joined AFBI’s Livestock Production Science Branch, were his research focused on the area of calf rearing, in particular colostrum management.  Austen joined the farm and household economics group within ERB in December 2015; his main research interests have focused on responses and behaviours at the farm level to the wider market and policy environment. He is currently co-leading a project aimed at developing a whole farm model for N.I dairy farms to provide technical and economic evaluation of different dairy systems.  Other research interests include education, skills and training in agriculture and farm level policy evaluation.

Austen obtained his BSc in Agricultural Technology from Queen’s University Belfast and holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from University College Dublin

Select Publications

Ashfield, A., Jack, C. and Mullan, C. (2020) Encouraging farmer participation in agricultural education and training: A Northern Ireland perspective. International Journal of Agricultural Management, 9 p.96-106. 

Jack, C., Adenuga, A.H., Ashfield, A. and Mullan, C. (2020) Understanding the drivers and motivations of farm diversification: Evidence from Northern Ireland using a mixed methods approach. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Jack, C., Miller, A.C., Ashfield, A. and Anderson, D., 2019. New entrants and succession into farming: A Northern Ireland perspective. International Journal of Agricultural Management, 8(2) p.56-64.

Dunn, A., Ashfield, A., Earley, B., Welsh, M., Gordon, A. and Morrison, S.J., 2017. Evaluation of factors associated with immunoglobulin G, fat, protein, and lactose concentrations in bovine colostrum and colostrum management practices in grassland-based dairy systems in Northern Ireland. Journal of dairy science, 100(3) p.2068-2079.

Ashfield, A., Crosson, P. and Wallace, M. (2012) Simulation modelling of temperate grassland based dairy calf to beef production systems. Agricultural Systems, 115 p.41-50.

Current Projects