Synergies and trade-offs of adaptation and mitigation on dairy farms

Kairsty Topp


Livestock farms with ruminants have large and diverse fluxes of greenhouse gases, but are also affected in diverse ways by climate change. This calls for assessments of possible options to mitigate GHG and to adapt to changing climate, primarily at the farm-scale. This study focuses on the effects of adaptation and mitigation options, and their synergies and trade-offs on GHG emissions and production on European dairy farms. The impact of climate change on livestock production systems will vary with livestock type, system design and local conditions. These effects are direct through impacts on animal performance and indirect through effects on crop yield and quality. These impacts demand adaptations of farming systems to cope with the changed climate. Adaptation can be categorized in three main categories: feed, livestock and water management. Several of these adaptation options have impact on greenhouse gas emissions and thus on the mitigation potential. There is therefore need to align measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions with the likely adaptations to be adopted. Based on expert opinion, assessments have been performed on which adaptation and mitigation measures would likely be adopted for real on maritime dairy farms located in Ireland and the Netherlands.


Authors: Topp, C.F.E.1, O’Brien, D.2, Stienezen, M.W.J3, Wreford, A.1, Olesen, J.E.4

Affiliations: 1 Scotland’s Rural College, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK, 2 Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland, 3 Wageningen UR Livestock Research, 6708 WD Wageningen, Postbus 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, 5 Dept. of Agroecology, Aarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, Postboks 50,DK-8830 Tjele

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