Building modelling capacity for livestock systems: progress in LiveM

Richard Philip Kipling, Eli Rudinow Saetnan, Agnes van den Pol-van Dasselaar, Nigel G Scollan


MACSUR provides an opportunity to connect disparate research groups and disciplines in livestock and grassland modelling.  Within the livestock theme (LiveM) of MACSUR, grassland modelling capabilities have been significantly improved through joint modelling exercises, and grassland modellers have exploited their methodological overlaps with CropM to make important contributions to regional pilot studies.  Animal health researchers have been contributing to the southern regional pilot, and modelling resources have been identified for livestock systems at the animal and farm-scales.  Here, the priorities for the next steps for livestock and grassland modelling are discussed, and for the role of MACSUR in addressing the challenges facing the sector.  While crop and grassland modelling deals with primary production, livestock modelling examines the complexity of secondary production. The unique position of livestock modelling presents challenges and opportunities.  The diversity of livestock models (in scale and approach) makes model inter-comparisons and collaborative work challenging, while the range of variables involved in livestock systems provide many opportunities for increasing systemic efficiency and robustness to the impacts of climate change.  Closer integration of experimental research and modelling teams also has the potential to increase the capability of livestock and grassland models to predict the impact of European adaptation strategies on livestock farming systems, and on the contribution of these systems to global food security.

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