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Special Issue "Climate Change and Livestock Management"

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A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Frank Mitloehner

Department of Animal Science, University of California, One Schields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: livestock husbandry; environmental management; air pollution; greenhouse gases

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

By 2050, the global demand for animal protein will double and livestock production will increase its contribution to overall anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, estimates of greenhouse gases from both regional and global livestock production and associated mitigation effectiveness show large uncertainties. This volume will attempt to improve emission predictions through study data from monitoring and modeling of greenhouse gases and elucidate how advanced biotechnologies, improved genetics, animal nutrition, and comprehensive waste management can be used to further reduce the carbon footprint of livestock production.

Manuscripts of original research should advisedly address one of the following cogent and urgent topics: (1) the reduction of uncertainties concerning greenhouse gas emissions by livestock production systems (including both emissions and sequestration), (2) impacts of climate change on livestock systems, (3) development and use of ‘breakthrough’ techniques and technologies for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production, (4) the adaptation of livestock to climate change, and (5) advanced manure treatment to reduce emissions and generate utilities.

Prof. Dr. Frank Mitloehner
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • Monitoring
  • Modeling
  • Livestock systems
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Adaptation
  • Manure management

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Climate, Soil and Pasture Type on Productivity and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Intensity of Modeled Beef Cow-Calf Grazing Systems in Southern Australia
Animals 2012, 2(4), 540-558; doi:10.3390/ani2040540
Received: 8 August 2012 / Revised: 14 September 2012 / Accepted: 19 September 2012 / Published: 1 October 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (155 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A biophysical whole farm system model was used to simulate the interaction between the historical climate, soil and pasture type at sites in southern Australia and assess the balance between productivity and greenhouse gas emissions (expressed in carbon dioxide equivalents, CO2-eq.)
[...] Read more.
A biophysical whole farm system model was used to simulate the interaction between the historical climate, soil and pasture type at sites in southern Australia and assess the balance between productivity and greenhouse gas emissions (expressed in carbon dioxide equivalents, CO2-eq.) intensity of beef cow-calf grazing systems. Four sites were chosen to represent a range of climatic zones, soil and pasture types. Poorer feed quality and supply limited the annual carrying capacity of the kikuyu pasture compared to phalaris pastures, with an average long-term carrying capacity across sites estimated to be 0.6 to 0.9 cows/ha. A relative reduction in level of feed intake to productivity of calf live weight/ha at weaning by feeding supplementary feed reduced the average CO2-eq. emissions/kg calf live weight at weaning of cows on the kikuyu pasture (18.4 and 18.9 kg/kg with and without supplementation, respectively), whereas at the other sites studied an increase in intake level to productivity and emission intensity was seen (between 10.4 to 12.5 kg/kg without and with supplementary feed, respectively). Enteric fermentation and nitrous oxide emissions from denitrification were the main sources of annual variability in emissions intensity, particularly at the lower rainfall sites. Emissions per unit product of low input systems can be minimized by efficient utilization of pasture to maximize the annual turnoff of weaned calves and diluting resource input per unit product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessArticle A Greenhouse Gas and Soil Carbon Model for Estimating the Carbon Footprint of Livestock Production in Canada
Animals 2012, 2(3), 437-454; doi:10.3390/ani2030437
Received: 12 June 2012 / Revised: 21 August 2012 / Accepted: 27 August 2012 / Published: 4 September 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (153 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To assess tradeoffs between environmental sustainability and changes in food production on agricultural land in Canada the Unified Livestock Industry and Crop Emissions Estimation System (ULICEES) was developed. It incorporates four livestock specific GHG assessments in a single model. To demonstrate the application
[...] Read more.
To assess tradeoffs between environmental sustainability and changes in food production on agricultural land in Canada the Unified Livestock Industry and Crop Emissions Estimation System (ULICEES) was developed. It incorporates four livestock specific GHG assessments in a single model. To demonstrate the application of ULICEES, 10% of beef cattle protein production was assumed to be displaced with an equivalent amount of pork protein. Without accounting for the loss of soil carbon, this 10% shift reduced GHG emissions by 2.5 TgCO2e y−1. The payback period was defined as the number of years required for a GHG reduction to equal soil carbon lost from the associated land use shift. A payback period that is shorter than 40 years represents a net long term decrease in GHG emissions. Displacing beef cattle with hogs resulted in a surplus area of forage. When this residual land was left in ungrazed perennial forage, the payback periods were less than 4 years and when it was reseeded to annual crops, they were equal to or less than 40 years. They were generally greater than 40 years when this land was used to raise cattle. Agricultural GHG mitigation policies will inevitably involve a trade-off between production, land use and GHG emission reduction. ULICEES is a model that can objectively assess these trade-offs for Canadian agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessArticle Whole Farm Net Greenhouse Gas Abatement from Establishing Kikuyu-Based Perennial Pastures in South-Western Australia
Animals 2012, 2(3), 316-330; doi:10.3390/ani2030316
Received: 1 July 2012 / Revised: 26 July 2012 / Accepted: 27 July 2012 / Published: 3 August 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (162 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
On-farm activities that reduce GHG emissions or sequester carbon from the atmosphere to compensate for anthropogenic emissions are currently being evaluated by the Australian Government as carbon offset opportunities. The aim of this study was to examine the implications of establishing and grazing
[...] Read more.
On-farm activities that reduce GHG emissions or sequester carbon from the atmosphere to compensate for anthropogenic emissions are currently being evaluated by the Australian Government as carbon offset opportunities. The aim of this study was to examine the implications of establishing and grazing Kikuyu pastures, integrated as part of a mixed Merino sheep and cropping system, as a carbon offset mechanism. For the assessment of changes in net greenhouse gas emissions, results from a combination of whole farm economic and livestock models were used (MIDAS and GrassGro). Net GHG emissions were determined by deducting increased emissions from introducing this practice change (increased methane and nitrous oxide emissions due to higher stocking rates) from the soil carbon sequestered from growing the Kikuyu pasture. Our results indicate that livestock systems using perennial pastures may have substantially lower net GHG emissions, and reduced GHG intensity of production, compared with annual plant-based production systems. Soil carbon accumulation by converting 45% of arable land within a farm enterprise to Kikuyu-based pasture was determined to be 0.80 t CO2-e farm ha−1 yr−1 and increased GHG emissions (leakage) was 0.19 t CO2-e farm ha−1 yr−1. The net benefit of this practice change was 0.61 t CO2-e farm ha−1 yr−1 while the rate of soil carbon accumulation remains constant. The use of perennial pastures improved the efficiency of animal production almost eight fold when expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per unit of animal product. The strategy of using perennial pasture to improve production levels and store additional carbon in the soil demonstrates how livestock should be considered in farming systems as both sources and sinks for GHG abatement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessArticle Extending the Collection Duration of Breath Samples for Enteric Methane Emission Estimation Using the SF6 Tracer Technique
Animals 2012, 2(2), 275-287; doi:10.3390/ani2020275
Received: 8 May 2012 / Revised: 31 May 2012 / Accepted: 6 June 2012 / Published: 8 June 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (262 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The daily sample collection protocol of the sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique for the estimation of methane (CH4) emissions from ruminants may not be practical under extensive grazing systems. Here, under controlled conditions, we evaluated extended periods of sampling
[...] Read more.
The daily sample collection protocol of the sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique for the estimation of methane (CH4) emissions from ruminants may not be practical under extensive grazing systems. Here, under controlled conditions, we evaluated extended periods of sampling as an alternative to daily sample collections. Eight rumen-fistulated cows were housed and fed lucerne silage to achieve common daily feed intakes of 6.4 kg dry matter per cow. Following SF6 permeation tube dosing, eight sampling lines were fitted to the breath collection harness, so that a common gas mix was available to each line. Half of the lines collected samples into PVC yokes using a modified capillary system as commonly used in New Zealand (NZL), and half collected samples into stainless steel cylinders using a ball-bearing flow restrictor as used in Argentina (ARG), all within a 10-day time frame, either daily, across two consecutive 5-day periods or across one 10-day period (in duplicate). The NZL system had greater sampling success (97.3 vs. 79.5%) and yielded more consistent CH4 emission estimates than the ARG system. Emission estimates from NZL daily, NZL 5-day and NZL 10-day samplings were 114, 110 and 111 g d−1, respectively. Extended sample collection protocol may be feasible, but definitive evaluation of this alternative as well as sample collection systems is required under grazing situations before a decision on recommendation can be made. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessArticle Methane Emission and Milk Production of Dairy Cows Grazing Pastures Rich in Legumes or Rich in Grasses in Uruguay
Animals 2012, 2(2), 288-300; doi:10.3390/ani2020288
Received: 9 May 2012 / Revised: 31 May 2012 / Accepted: 6 June 2012 / Published: 8 June 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (88 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding the impact of changing pasture composition on reducing emissions of GHGs in dairy grazing systems is an important issue to mitigate climate change. The aim of this study was to estimate daily CH4 emissions of dairy cows grazing two mixed pastures
[...] Read more.
Understanding the impact of changing pasture composition on reducing emissions of GHGs in dairy grazing systems is an important issue to mitigate climate change. The aim of this study was to estimate daily CH4 emissions of dairy cows grazing two mixed pastures with contrasting composition of grasses and legumes: L pasture with 60% legumes on Dry Matter (DM) basis and G pasture with 75% grasses on DM basis. Milk production and CH4 emissions were compared over two periods of two weeks during spring using eight lactating Holstein cows in a 2 × 2 Latin square design. Herbage organic matter intake (HOMI) was estimated by chromic oxide dilution and herbage organic matter digestibility (OMD) was estimated by faecal index. Methane emission was estimated by using the sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique adapted to collect breath samples over 5-day periods. OMD (0.71) and HOMI (15.7 kg OM) were not affected by pasture composition. Milk production (20.3 kg/d), milk fat yield (742 g/d) and milk protein yield (667 g/d) were similar for both pastures. This may be explained by the high herbage allowance (30 kg DM above 5 cm/cow) which allowed the cows to graze selectively, in particular in grass sward. Similarly, methane emission expressed as absolute value (368 g/d or 516 L/d) or expressed as methane yield (6.6% of Gross Energy Intake (GEI)) was not affected by treatments. In conclusion, at high herbage allowance, the quality of the diet selected by grazing cows did not differ between pastures rich in legumes or rich in grasses, and therefore there was no effect on milk or methane production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessArticle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Calf- and Yearling-Fed Beef Production Systems, With and Without the Use of Growth Promotants
Animals 2012, 2(2), 195-220; doi:10.3390/ani2020195
Received: 1 February 2012 / Revised: 22 March 2012 / Accepted: 31 March 2012 / Published: 16 April 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (182 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A spring calving herd consisting of about 350 beef cows, 14–16 breeding bulls, 60 replacement heifers and 112 steers were used to compare the whole-farm GHG emissions among calf-fed vs. yearling-fed production systems with and without growth implants. Carbon footprint ranged from 11.63
[...] Read more.
A spring calving herd consisting of about 350 beef cows, 14–16 breeding bulls, 60 replacement heifers and 112 steers were used to compare the whole-farm GHG emissions among calf-fed vs. yearling-fed production systems with and without growth implants. Carbon footprint ranged from 11.63 to 13.22 kg CO2e per kg live weight (19.87–22.52 kg CO2e per kg carcass weight). Enteric CH4 was the largest source of GHG emissions (53–54%), followed by manure N2O (20–22%), cropping N2O (11%), energy use CO2 (9–9.5%), and manure CH4 (4–6%). Beef cow accounted for 77% and 58% of the GHG emissions in the calf-fed and yearling-fed. Feeders accounted for the second highest GHG emissions (15% calf-fed; 35–36% yearling-fed). Implants reduced the carbon footprint by 4.9–5.1% compared with hormone-free. Calf-fed reduced the carbon footprint by 6.3–7.5% compared with yearling-fed. When expressed as kg CO2e per kg carcass weight per year the carbon footprint of calf-fed production was 73.9–76.1% lower than yearling-fed production, and calf-fed implanted was 85% lower than hormone-free yearling-fed. Reducing GHG emissions from beef production may be accomplished by improving the feed efficiency of the cow herd, decreasing the days on low quality feeds, and reducing the age at harvest of youthful cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessArticle Is the Grass Always Greener? Comparing the Environmental Impact of Conventional, Natural and Grass-Fed Beef Production Systems
Animals 2012, 2(2), 127-143; doi:10.3390/ani2020127
Received: 22 January 2012 / Revised: 27 March 2012 / Accepted: 31 March 2012 / Published: 10 April 2012
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (303 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study compared the environmental impact of conventional, natural and grass-fed beef production systems. A deterministic model based on the metabolism and nutrient requirements of the beef population was used to quantify resource inputs and waste outputs per 1.0 × 109 kg
[...] Read more.
This study compared the environmental impact of conventional, natural and grass-fed beef production systems. A deterministic model based on the metabolism and nutrient requirements of the beef population was used to quantify resource inputs and waste outputs per 1.0 × 109 kg of hot carcass weight beef in conventional (CON), natural (NAT) and grass-fed (GFD) production systems. Production systems were modeled using characteristic management practices, population dynamics and production data from U.S. beef production systems. Increased productivity (slaughter weight and growth rate) in the CON system reduced the cattle population size required to produce 1.0 × 109 kg of beef compared to the NAT or GFD system. The CON system required 56.3% of the animals, 24.8% of the water, 55.3% of the land and 71.4% of the fossil fuel energy required to produce 1.0 × 109 kg of beef compared to the GFD system. The carbon footprint per 1.0 × 109 kg of beef was lowest in the CON system (15,989 × 103 t), intermediate in the NAT system (18,772 × 103 t) and highest in the GFD system (26,785 × 103 t). The challenge to the U.S beef industry is to communicate differences in system environmental impacts to facilitate informed dietary choice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessArticle Carbon Footprints for Food of Animal Origin: What are the Most Preferable Criteria to Measure Animal Yields?
Animals 2012, 2(2), 108-126; doi:10.3390/ani2020108
Received: 21 January 2012 / Revised: 5 March 2012 / Accepted: 13 March 2012 / Published: 27 March 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (123 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There are increasing efforts to determine the origin of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities (including food consumption) and to identify, apply and exploit reduction potentials. Low emissions are generally the result of increased efficiency in resource utilization. Considering climate related factors,
[...] Read more.
There are increasing efforts to determine the origin of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities (including food consumption) and to identify, apply and exploit reduction potentials. Low emissions are generally the result of increased efficiency in resource utilization. Considering climate related factors, the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and laughing gas are summarized to so-called carbon footprints (CF). The CF for food of animal origin such as milk, eggs, meat and fish depend on a number of influencing factors such as animal species, type of production, feeding of animals, animal performance, system boundaries and outputs of production. Milk and egg yields are more clearly defined animal yields or outcomes of production than food from the carcasses of animals. Possible endpoints of growing/slaughter animals are body weight gain, carcass weight gain (warm or cold), meat, edible fractions or edible protein. The production of edible protein of animal origin may be considered as one of the main objectives of animal husbandry in many countries. On the other hand, the efficiency of various lines of production and the CF per product can also be easily compared on the basis of edible protein. The pros and contras of various outputs of animal production under special consideration of edible protein are discussed in the paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessArticle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Three Cage Layer Housing Systems
Animals 2012, 2(1), 1-15; doi:10.3390/ani2010001
Received: 9 December 2011 / Revised: 21 December 2011 / Accepted: 26 December 2011 / Published: 27 December 2011
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (363 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agriculture accounts for 10 to 12% of the World’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Manure management alone is responsible for 13% of GHG emissions from the agricultural sector. During the last decade, Québec’s egg production systems have shifted from deep-pit housing systems to
[...] Read more.
Agriculture accounts for 10 to 12% of the World’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Manure management alone is responsible for 13% of GHG emissions from the agricultural sector. During the last decade, Québec’s egg production systems have shifted from deep-pit housing systems to manure belt housing systems. The objective of this study was to measure and compare carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from three different cage layer housing systems: a deep liquid manure pit and a manure belt with natural or forced air drying. Deep liquid manure pit housing systems consist of “A” frame layer cages located over a closed pit containing the hens’ droppings to which water is added to facilitate removal by pumping. Manure belt techniques imply that manure drops on a belt beneath each row of battery cages where it is either dried naturally or by forced air until it is removed. The experiment was replicated with 360 hens reared into twelve independent bench-scale rooms during eight weeks (19–27 weeks of age). The natural and forced air manure belt systems reduced CO2 (28.2 and 28.7 kg yr−1 hen−1, respectively), CH4 (25.3 and 27.7 g yr−1 hen−1, respectively) and N2O (2.60 and 2.48 g yr−1 hen−1, respectively) emissions by about 21, 16 and 9% in comparison with the deep-pit technique (36.0 kg CO2 yr−1 hen−1, 31.6 g CH4 yr−1 hen−1 and 2.78 g N2O yr−1 hen−1). The shift to manure belt systems needs to be encouraged since this housing system significantly decreases the production of GHG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessArticle Construction and Operation of a Ventilated Hood System for Measuring Greenhouse Gas and Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Cattle
Animals 2011, 1(4), 433-446; doi:10.3390/ani1040433
Received: 28 October 2011 / Revised: 1 December 2011 / Accepted: 1 December 2011 / Published: 8 December 2011
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2482 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent interest in greenhouse gas emissions from ruminants, such as cattle, has spawned a need for affordable, precise, and accurate methods for the measurement of gaseous emissions arising from enteric fermentation. A new head hood system for cattle designed to capture and quantify
[...] Read more.
Recent interest in greenhouse gas emissions from ruminants, such as cattle, has spawned a need for affordable, precise, and accurate methods for the measurement of gaseous emissions arising from enteric fermentation. A new head hood system for cattle designed to capture and quantify emissions was recently developed at the University of California, Davis. The system consists of two head hoods, two vacuum pumps, and an instrumentation cabinet housing the required data collection equipment. This system has the capability of measuring carbon dioxide, methane, ethanol, methanol, water vapor, nitrous oxide, acetic acid emissions and oxygen consumption in real-time. A unique aspect of the hoods is the front, back, and sides are made of clear polycarbonate sheeting allowing the cattle a full range of vision during gas sampling. Recovery rates for these slightly negative pressure chambers were measured ranging from 97.6 to 99.3 percent. This system can capture high quality data for use in improving emission inventories and evaluating gaseous emission mitigation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessArticle Managing Livestock Species under Climate Change in Australia
Animals 2011, 1(4), 343-365; doi:10.3390/ani1040343
Received: 18 September 2011 / Revised: 10 October 2011 / Accepted: 17 October 2011 / Published: 19 October 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (563 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the vulnerabilities of major livestock species raised in Australia to climate change using the regional livestock profile of Australia of around 1,400 regions. The number of each species owned, the number of each species sold, and the aggregate livestock revenue
[...] Read more.
This paper examines the vulnerabilities of major livestock species raised in Australia to climate change using the regional livestock profile of Australia of around 1,400 regions. The number of each species owned, the number of each species sold, and the aggregate livestock revenue across all species are examined. The four major species analyzed are sheep, beef cattle, dairy cattle, and pigs. The analysis also includes livestock products such as wool and milk. These livestock production statistics are regressed against climate, geophysical, market and household characteristics. In contrast to crop studies, the analysis finds that livestock species are resilient to a hotter and more arid climate. Under the CSIRO climate scenario in which temperature increases by 3.4 °C, livestock revenue per farm increases significantly while the number of each species owned increases by large percentages except for dairy cattle. The precipitation reduction by about 8% in 2060 also increases the numbers of livestock species per farm household. Under both UKMO and GISS scenarios, livestock revenue is expected to increase by around 47% while the livestock population increases by large percentage. Livestock management may play a key role in adapting to a hot and arid climate in Australia. However, critical values of the climatic variables for the species analyzed in this paper are not obvious from the regional data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Methods for Measuring and Estimating Methane Emission from Ruminants
Animals 2012, 2(2), 160-183; doi:10.3390/ani2020160
Received: 9 February 2012 / Revised: 8 March 2012 / Accepted: 2 April 2012 / Published: 13 April 2012
Cited by 27 | PDF Full-text (574 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper is a brief introduction to the different methods used to quantify the enteric methane emission from ruminants. A thorough knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of these methods is very important in order to plan experiments, understand and interpret experimental results,
[...] Read more.
This paper is a brief introduction to the different methods used to quantify the enteric methane emission from ruminants. A thorough knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of these methods is very important in order to plan experiments, understand and interpret experimental results, and compare them with other studies. The aim of the paper is to describe the principles, advantages and disadvantages of different methods used to quantify the enteric methane emission from ruminants. The best-known methods: Chambers/respiration chambers, SF6 technique and in vitro gas production technique and the newer CO2 methods are described. Model estimations, which are used to calculate national budget and single cow enteric emission from intake and diet composition, are also discussed. Other methods under development such as the micrometeorological technique, combined feeder and CH4 analyzer and proxy methods are briefly mentioned. Methods of choice for estimating enteric methane emission depend on aim, equipment, knowledge, time and money available, but interpretation of results obtained with a given method can be improved if knowledge about the disadvantages and advantages are used in the planning of experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
Open AccessReview Livestock Helminths in a Changing Climate: Approaches and Restrictions to Meaningful Predictions
Animals 2012, 2(1), 93-107; doi:10.3390/ani2010093
Received: 31 January 2012 / Revised: 27 February 2012 / Accepted: 2 March 2012 / Published: 6 March 2012
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (174 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change is a driving force for livestock parasite risk. This is especially true for helminths including the nematodes Haemonchus contortus, Teladorsagia circumcincta, Nematodirus battus, and the trematode Fasciola hepatica, since survival and development of free-living stages is chiefly affected
[...] Read more.
Climate change is a driving force for livestock parasite risk. This is especially true for helminths including the nematodes Haemonchus contortus, Teladorsagia circumcincta, Nematodirus battus, and the trematode Fasciola hepatica, since survival and development of free-living stages is chiefly affected by temperature and moisture. The paucity of long term predictions of helminth risk under climate change has driven us to explore optimal modelling approaches and identify current bottlenecks to generating meaningful predictions. We classify approaches as correlative or mechanistic, exploring their strengths and limitations. Climate is one aspect of a complex system and, at the farm level, husbandry has a dominant influence on helminth transmission. Continuing environmental change will necessitate the adoption of mitigation and adaptation strategies in husbandry. Long term predictive models need to have the architecture to incorporate these changes. Ultimately, an optimal modelling approach is likely to combine mechanistic processes and physiological thresholds with correlative bioclimatic modelling, incorporating changes in livestock husbandry and disease control. Irrespective of approach, the principal limitation to parasite predictions is the availability of active surveillance data and empirical data on physiological responses to climate variables. By combining improved empirical data and refined models with a broad view of the livestock system, robust projections of helminth risk can be developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)

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