Climate Change

Some aspects of farm systems are impossible to research in the traditional sense, in these cases the use of whole farm systems modelling is often the only practical choice.  Exploring the impacts of projected climates change on our livestock systems are one example of how models might appropriately be used to increase our understanding .  

Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation

The Southern Livestock Adaptation 2030 program used various models including the GrassGrotm biophysical model to determine not only the likely impact of a range of climate projections on our pastures and grazing systems, but also to explore what forms of adaptation might be most successful.

In his role with DPI Doug Alcock developed the concept for this program and assisted DPI and CSIRO colleagues develop robust GrassGro farms systems for a range of locations including the Monaro region.  For more information a range of fact sheets about this work can be downloaded here.

Doug with Ross Garnaut; speakers at the MFS "Carbon Day Out", Cooma 2011.

Mitigating enteric methane emissions

Enteric methane accounts for about 10% of the national greenhouse accounts but it is extremely difficult to measure in the field.  For this reason the Sheep CRC engaged Doug Alcock to model the impact of a range of management and potential genetic advances on emissions from sheep grazing enterprises using GrassGroTM.  

Farm systems were modelled for seven sheep enterprises grazing typical pastures at Cowra in NSW.  Management options including lambing time, lamb joining and accelerated finishing of lambs were tested along with genetic options such as increased fecundity, growth, direct selection for reduced methane and lower residual feed intake were assessed for their potential to reduce methane emissions.

Doug presented this work as a poster at the 2010 GGAA conference in Banff and the work was subsequently published in a special edition of Animal Feed Science and Technology in 2011.  For a reprint of this paper please contact Doug.