How to increase the sustainability of dairy farms under climate change?

Picture copyright TOILLON, INRA

Dairy farms could improve their environmental footprint by feeding more homegrown forage by reducing imports of feed and enhancing the use of fertilizers. Long and Ketterings analyzed 14 years of yield data from a 1000-cow dairy farm to identify highly productive fields that are stable under changing climate. They found that increasing soil organic matter, impoving drainage and optimizing soil fertility should decrease the impact of weather extremes.

Stubble grazing sustains soil quality and carbon in wheat crop drylands

Stubble grazing is traditionally perceived as a practice that degrades soils. As potential consequence is the decrease of soil carbon, which is transferred to the atmosphere as CO2, a greenhouse gas. To check this assumption scientists Stavi et al. studied stubble grazing following wheat crops in drylands. They found that moderate stubble grazing does not degrade the soil and does not decrease the quantity of soil organic carbon.


How climate change influences shepherds in France

Global warming is moving plant and animal species toward cooler areas, thus impacting agriculture and food production. In particular livestock farmers should adapt their pratices to climate changes, but there is actually few evidence of shepherd adaptation. Rigolot et al. surveyed shepherds from the French Auvergne. They found that shepherds clearly modify their use of collective mountain pastures in summer.


Training for local chicken farmers needed in Uganda

Chicken farms are very popular in Kampala City, Uganda, with 70% of all poultry products produced locally. However, the high cost of chicken feed may incite chicken growers to use low quality feed. The report by Kasule et al. indeed shows that own-mixed feeds are considerably lower in protein, metabolizable energy, and calcium than the minimum dietary recommendations. These findings highlight the need to give farmers training on how to source feed ingredients of good quality as well as feed formulation and mixing.


Sustainable livestock farming

Livestock farming is very popular but causes regularly issues of food security and pollution. The long-term viability of livestock farming is critical for animal health, farm income, animal welfare and the environment. Therefore methods to assess the sustainability of livestock farming are needed. In a review by Lebacq et al. three different methods are analysed: the method-based approach, objective-driven approach and data-driven approach.