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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Living with Climatic Variability and Potential Global Change: Climatological Analyses of Impacts on Livestock Performance

Authors
item Hahn, G - COLLABORATOR
item Mader, T - UNIV NEBRASKA
item Harrington, J - KANSAS STATE UNIV
item Nienaber, John
item Frank, K - UNIV DELAWARE

Submitted to: American Meteorological Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 27, 2002
Publication Date: October 28, 2002
Citation: Hahn, G.L., Mader, T.L., Harrington, J.A., Nienaber, J.A., Frank, K.L. 2002. Living with climatic variability and potential global change: climatological analyses of impacts on livestock performance. American Meteorological Society. Proceedings: 15th AMS Bio&Aero/16th ISB Biomet, Kansas City, MO, Oct. 28 - Nov. 1, 2002. pp. 45-49.

Interpretive Summary: Summer weather influences production and well-being of livestock in the United States and many other regions of the world. This report quantifies some of those impacts for both current weather and projected weather during global warming. Growth responses to weather patterns are used with current or projected weather records for that assessment. The assessment includes economic consequences. The results allow livestock producers to better understand production and death losses during summer weather. This knowledge helps improve decision-making in selection of management practices, for both current and future weather situations.

Technical Abstract: Summer weather, with its inter- and intra-annual variability, challenges agricultural animals in many regions of the world. Possible global change, currently viewed as global warming, can exacerbate those challenges. A consequence of the heat stress induced in animals as a result of hot-weather challenges is reduced animal well-being and performance, and in extreme events (e.g., heat waves), possible death of the animals. This report uses animal response algorithms for dairy cow milk production, swine growth, and feeder cattle growth, in conjunction with climatological records and global change scenarios, to assess the extent of the impact of current and potential summer weather on livestock in the United States. Results are presented in terms of specific examples to quantify the substantial impacts: 1) current summer weather and its variability effects on dairy cow production; 2) summer weather extremes in terms of the incidence of heat waves and their impact on feedlot cattle mortality; and 3) projected global warming increases in days to grow to market weight for swine and feedlot cattle during summer periods, as well as decreases in milk production for dairy cows. Quantification of the impacts of normal summer weather and its' variability, as well as potential global change, allows livestock producers to gain a better understanding of the magnitude of production and death losses in both situations. Projected economic losses resulting from climate-induced reductions in production may justify mitigation through changes in management practices.

Last Modified: 11/22/2014
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