Livestock sector contributes to a big percentage of agricultural produce its key in the global food security chain. Environmental changes have had a significant impact on livestock farming thus distracting the food supply chain.

Livestock - ChickenClimate change is majorly caused by the emissions from greenhouse gas which leads to the warming of the atmosphere. Ironically, the livestock sector contributes to climate change through its contributions to the emission of green gas.[1] This has had serious implications on livestock sector in the US. Some of the effect associated with environmental changes include;

Low livestock production: Environmental changes cause an unpredictable weather patterns which has an impact on livestock sector. This has an overall performance on livestock performance which has an effect on the livestock products. Environmental changes also increase vulnerability of livestock as most of the time the environment becomes harsh for the sustainable of the animals.[1] Increase of temperatures during summer reduce animal production while it causes a slow down during winter.

Effects on parasites that affect livestock’s: Environmental changes has caused changes and an increase in parasites that affect domestic animals. An increase in diseases such as bovine respiratory disease have been reported to have increased in the last few years. This has been blamed on environmentally factors.  Some of this parasites affect crops which act as foods for the livestock. This has continued to affect plant and livestock diseases in most places in the US.

Reduced quality and quantity of produce: The quality of produce such as feeds is degraded as a result of high atmospheric, increase of carbon dioxide and dry conditions. This however is very determined on factors such as location, species, crops, livestock system among others. This affects the quality of forage and feeds.[3] Extreme weather conditions such as floods may cause roots structure and decrease in total quality and quantity.

Unpredictable rainfall: Livestock farming relies heavily on agricultural crops, while the growth of this crops needs reliable water. Climate change has affected rainfall pattern which has led to scarcity of water thus affecting the whole cycle. Livestock requires drinking water, crops for product processes. It is estimated that by 2025, 64% may experience constrained water conditions.[4]

Livestock, sheepReproduction: Livestock reproduction of both sexes is affected by heat stress. This affects cows and pigs in embryo employment development and low pregnancy rates. Cow fertility is compromised by too much heat or deficits. Lower sperm concentration has also been witnessed in cows and pigs.

Mortality: Harsh climatic changes has caused an increase in livestock mortality caused by heat increase or too cold situations. In 1994 and 2006, the US experienced a heat wave that led to mortality of livestock. Sprinklers and shade measures were used to curb the number of livestock that were succumbing to the heat wave.

 

[1] C. Aydinalp, M.S. Cresser: The effects of climate change on agriculture Environ. Sci., 5 (2008), pp. 672–676

[2] Warren, D. Lemmen (Eds.), Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation, Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON (2004), pp. 99–134

[3] M.J. Fregley Adaptations: some general characteristics,in: M.J. Fregley, C.M. Blatteis (Eds.), Handbook of physiology, Section 4: Environmental physiology Oxford University Press (1996), pp. 3–15

[4] FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), 2007. The state of the world’s animal genetic resources for food and agriculture: in brief, edited by Barbara Rischkowsky & Dafydd Pilling, Rome.

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References

Aydinalp, M.S. Cresser: The effects of climate change on agriculture Environ. Sci., 5 (2008), pp. 672–676

Warren, D. Lemmen (Eds.), Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation, Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON (2004), pp. 99–134

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), 2007. The state of the world’s animal genetic resources for food and agriculture: in brief, edited by Barbara Rischkowsky & Dafydd Pilling, Rome.

M.J. Fregley Adaptations: some general characteristics, in: M.J. Fregley, C.M. Blatteis (Eds.), and book of physiology, Section 4: Environmental physiology Oxford University Press (1996), pp. 3–15