Impacts of climate change on livestock and possible adaptations: a case study of the United Kingdom

A Wreford, CFE Topp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Agriculture is a vital economic sector, providing food, fibre, and energy to a growing human population. Livestock are an important part of this sector, however the evidence and understanding of how a changing climate may affect livestock production systems, or how they may adapt to the changes, is a neglected area compared to the research into crop production. In this paper, we focus on livestock in the United Kingdom (UK), as an example of a temperate region likely to experience at least moderate changes in climate that will require changes to the way agricultural systems operate. We summarise the projected climate changes in this region, identify the main impacts likely to affect livestock agriculture, and discuss potential adaptation options at the farm level. We also categorise the adaptation options by the types of costs they incur, emphasising that many of these options involve management changes rather than investment and therefore no financial cost. Finally, we discuss the need for longer term planning to prepare for changes that have not yet been observed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102737
JournalAgricultural Systems
Volume178
Early online date6 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Feb 2020

Fingerprint

United Kingdom
livestock
climate change
case studies
agriculture
livestock production
human population
crop production
production technology
dietary fiber
planning
economics
farms

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Impacts
  • Adaptation
  • Agriculture
  • Livestock
  • United Kingdom

Cite this

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Impacts of climate change on livestock and possible adaptations: a case study of the United Kingdom. / Wreford, A; Topp, CFE.

In: Agricultural Systems, Vol. 178, 102737, 02.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Impacts of climate change on livestock and possible adaptations: a case study of the United Kingdom

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AU - Topp, CFE

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AB - Agriculture is a vital economic sector, providing food, fibre, and energy to a growing human population. Livestock are an important part of this sector, however the evidence and understanding of how a changing climate may affect livestock production systems, or how they may adapt to the changes, is a neglected area compared to the research into crop production. In this paper, we focus on livestock in the United Kingdom (UK), as an example of a temperate region likely to experience at least moderate changes in climate that will require changes to the way agricultural systems operate. We summarise the projected climate changes in this region, identify the main impacts likely to affect livestock agriculture, and discuss potential adaptation options at the farm level. We also categorise the adaptation options by the types of costs they incur, emphasising that many of these options involve management changes rather than investment and therefore no financial cost. Finally, we discuss the need for longer term planning to prepare for changes that have not yet been observed.

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