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Predictions of impact of climate change on goat dairy industry in temperate areas Nissim Silanikove Institute of Animal Science, Agricultural research Organization (A.R.O.), the Volcani Center, P.O. Box. 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel. “Greenhouse effect” .

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Predictions of impact of climate change on goat dairy industry in temperate areasNissim SilanikoveInstitute of Animal Science, Agricultural research Organization (A.R.O.), the Volcani Center, P.O. Box. 6, BetDagan 50250, Israel

greenhouse effect
“Greenhouse effect”

Increasing greenhouse gases trap more heat

climate change impacts
Climate Change Impacts

Changing climatic conditions affect animal agriculture in four primary ways:

  • Feed-grain production, availability,

and price

  • Pastures and forage crop production and quality ?
  • Animal production, reproduction, health, growth
  • Disease and pest distributions

“Crop Production Down in 2012 Due to Drought, USDA Reports”

(Sources: NOAA, 2012; USDA NASS, 2013)

food prices
Food Prices
    • Food prices will rise due to:
      • Production declines
      • Prices of inputs increase (such as, petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides)
  • Food insecurity increases with rising food prices


animal growth reproduction
Animal Growth & Reproduction
  • Hotter temperatures may reduce productivity of livestock and dairy animals
    • Animals lose appetite, gain weight slower and take longer to get to market
    • Production decreases, including milk from dairy cattle and eggs from poultry
    • Mortality rate increases

and reproduction decreases, which may resulting in smaller herds

(Source: CCSP, 2008)

disease and pest distributions
Disease and Pest Distributions
  • Climate change affect:
    • Frequency, intensity, or distribution of animal diseases and pests
    • Livestock’s resistance to infections and diseases

(Source: Walthall, 2012)


Example of the Interaction of Temperature and Humidity in Determining Heat Stress Potential in Dairy Cattle


long-term trends in Veterinary Investigation Diagnosis Analysis (VIDA) recorded diagnostic rates of disease in sheep and cattle resulting from infections with helminth parasites. Trend lines drawn by exponential smoothing. Disease incidence, in all classes, shows a highly significant increase (Spearman’s rho 0.450, P 0.005) apparently starting in the late 1990s. Data sourced at VLA Weybridge.

other solutions and adaptations
Other solutions and adaptations

Changing Demand

  • Switch from beef & dairyto other proteins, veggies

(Weber & Matthews 2008, FAO 2003)

  • Adaptation is not new to agriculture
  • Adaptation practices to heat stress will vary by location due to climatic, soil and topographic variability
  • Strategies relating to livestock production

may include:

    • Mitigate heat effects on livestock
    • Switch to species and breed that are more adapted to heat stress – potential role of goats

Schematic representation of different temperature zones in relation to thermal stress. Adapted from Silanikove (2000)

monitoring production and reproduction
Monitoring Production and reproduction

- Effettoclimaticosulleproduzioni

di capre “Camosciate delle Alpi” allevate in Calabria

- Continue of monitoring production and reproduction within the year along time is needed to assess potential impact of climatic changes in temperate zones


Milk yield of goats exposed to long-day (LD) photoperiod or short-day (SD) photoperiod during the third trimester of gestation under environmental heat stress (HS). Average milk production was significantly different between treatments from wk 4 (SEM = 215; P < 0.004). Error bars represent the SE.Volume 96, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 189–197


Reduction of heat stress risk by three different types of polyethylene shade cloth as predicted (based on predictions of respiration rate) by Eigenberg et al. (2010).


Shade effects on feeding behavior, feed intake, and daily gain of weight in female goat kidsL. Alvarez, , N. Guevara, M. Reyes, A. Sánchez, F. Galindo

Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and ResearchVolume 8, Issue 6, November–December 2013, Pages 466–470

We conclude that the use of shade at the feeders increases the visits of goats to this area and the time and net consumption of food and reduces food waste. These changes are directly related to high ambient temperature in different areas of the pen. The use of shade over the feeders for a period of 60 days did not alter the DWG of young goats. These results generate suggestions to study the effect of shade during longer periods of time.


alleviation of climatic stress of dairy goats in Mediterranean climateNazanDarcan, , , OkanGüneySmall Ruminant ResearchVolume 74, Issues 1–3, January 2008, Pages 212–215

dairy goats vs dairy cows

Dairy goats Vs. Dairy cows

Major Advantages:

Superior resilience to heat stress

Milk yield and milk composition is less affected by heat stress

-Superior digestive capacity, better ability to use forages that cannot be use a food for humans.

-Superior resilience to diseases, particularly helminth parasites

Major drawback

-smaller production unit: between 5 to 6 goats will be needed to replace one cow. Would it be economical?

the future of the dairy industry in temperate zones face of climatic changes role of dairy goats

The future of the dairy industry in temperate zones face of climatic changes: Role of dairy goats

A shrink in dairy cows industry is expected. The decline will be directly proportional to the worsening in climatic changes.

- The importance of dairy industry will increase as an adaptation to the decrease of supply of milk by the dairy cows industry. The importance of dairy goats will be inversely proportion to decline in dairy cows production.

Because overall production of milk will decline and demand for milk and dairy product is high, it will be much profitable to raise goats in the future


Research needs and consideration of how to deal with future changes in climatic changes in temperate zones

There is no information if existing changes already affect dairy goats production in different production system, such as grazing and confinement.

There is no information (at least in the international literature) on the ability of local goats to deal with heat stress.

Need to develop knowledge and strategies to alleviate heat stress: start from simple to sophisticate: providing shade, improving housing, ventilation and active cooling.

Considering selection toward resilience to heat stress and importing breeds with high production capacity (e,g., Anglo-Nubian breed), which are already adapted to heat stress.

Considering that goats reproduction is seasonal:

Do we need to adjust the breeding changes to earlier appearance of spring?

- Developing nutritional strategies to alleviate the negative effects of heat stress on milk composition (reduction in protein and fat concentration in milk)