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Title: Livestock production in a changing climate: adaptation and mitigation research in Australia
Contributor(s): Henry, Beverley (author); Charmley, Ed (author); Eckard, Richard (author); Gaughan, John B (author); Hegarty, Roger  (author)
Publication Date: 2012
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1071/CP11169Open Access Link
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Abstract: Climate change presents a range of challenges for animal agriculture in Australia. Livestock production will be affected by changes in temperature and water availability through impacts on pasture and forage crop quantity and quality, feed-grain production and price, and disease and pest distributions. This paper provides an overview of these impacts and the broader effects on landscape functionality, with a focus on recent research on effects of increasing temperature, changing rainfall patterns, and increased climate variability on animal health, growth, and reproduction, including through heat stress, and potential adaptation strategies. The rate of adoption of adaptation strategies by livestock producers will depend on perceptions of the uncertainty in projected climate and regional-scale impacts and associated risk. However, management changes adopted by farmers in parts of Australia during recent extended drought and associated heatwaves, trends consistent with long-term predicted climate patterns, provide some insights into the capacity for practical adaptation strategies. Animal production systems will also be significantly affected by climate change policy and national targets to address greenhouse gas emissions, since livestock are estimated to contribute ~10% of Australia's total emissions and 8-11% of global emissions, with additional farm emissions associated with activities such as feed production. More than two-thirds of emissions are attributed to ruminant animals. This paper discusses the challenges and opportunities facing livestock industries in Australia in adapting to and mitigating climate change. It examines the research needed to better define practical options to reduce the emissions intensity of livestock products, enhance adaptation opportunities, and support the continued contribution of animal agriculture to Australia's economy, environment, and regional communities.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Crop and Pasture Science, 63(3), p. 191-202
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1836-5795
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
070201 Animal Breeding
070202 Animal Growth and Development
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 300210 Sustainable agricultural development
300305 Animal reproduction and breeding
300301 Animal growth and development
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 830301 Beef Cattle
830302 Dairy Cattle
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 100401 Beef cattle
100402 Dairy cattle
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article

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