The Effects of Climate Change: Agriculture and Livestock

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Climate change is one of the major issues surfacing earth over the past century. The earth’s temperature has increased over the years leading to detrimental effects on the economic and life sources of people, especially that of agricultural production and livestock. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary (2014), defined climate change as a change in global climate patterns apparent from the mid late 20th century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, (2007) predicts that by 2100 the increase in global average surface temperature may be between 1.8° C and 4.0° C. With increases of 1.5° C to 2.5° C, approximately 20 to 30 percent of plant and animal species are expected to be at risk of extinction. Moreover, the IPCC (2007) purported that climate change has severe consequences for food security in developing countries. There are numerous factors that are solely responsible for this change which are both natural and man-made. Climate change has led to a decrease in quality and quantity of plant produce and livestock because of heat stress, drought and an increase in plant and animal diseases.
According to Health and Safety executive (HSE), (n.d), heat stress is a component of climate change “that causes the body temperature to fail”, and is a global problem which affects agriculture and livestock. The effect of heat stress on Livestock’s has become greater for animals such as dairy cows and beef cattle. When animals are under distress due to temperature rise, they usually cut back on their feeding practices; have a rise in body temperature and faces weight loss. Milk production, milk fat, protein content and the progression of breeding are also affected, especially in dairy cows. When heat stress occurs, dairy cow...

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