DDD Conference

Dr. Ariel Shabtay

Livestock Production Systems under the Current Climate Change Era

Volcani Institute, Agricultural Research Organization, Israel

World population is expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050. Urban population size, demographic, and socio-economic trends result in an increasing demand for animal protein. This drives the need for efficient utilization of animal genetic resources, but with respect to the animals we grow and to the environment they grow in. Global warming is expected to pose stress and vulnerability on farm (homeothermic) animals, with impacts on their welfare, health, productive and reproductive efficiencies. On the other hand, global animal production systems are often criticized for consuming food edible by humans, graze on pastures that could be used for crop production, and are (especially ruminants) seen as poor converters of feed into food products. Thus, sustainable livestock production, if it takes place, may balance part of the deleterious interplay between animals and environment, under climate change.

It is hypothesized that the key to reducing disease incidence and animal discomfort appears to be centered at reducing the response to stress. Monitoring stress and managing livestock to diminish its negative impact is therefore prerequisite. To this end, strategies that involve thermal conditioning at early age, dietary manipulations and selection for adaptive breeds, have been studied in order to alleviate stress in aves and ruminants. It will be presented herein that, these strategies:

  1. Reduced mortality and improved body temperature regulation in layer hen.
  2. Alleviated intestine disease and discomfort, decreased antibiotics utilization, and inhibited blood parasites invasion in cattle.
  3. Improved low quality feed efficiency and tolerance to blood parasites.
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