News Update on livestock production : Nov 2021

Livestock production: recent trends, future prospects

The livestock sector globally is highly dynamic. In developing countries, it is evolving in response to rapidly increasing demand for livestock products. In developed countries, demand for livestock products is stagnating, while many production systems are increasing their efficiency and environmental sustainability. Historical changes in the demand for livestock products have been largely driven by human population growth, income growth and urbanization and the production response in different livestock systems has been associated with science and technology as well as increases in animal numbers. In the future, production will increasingly be affected by competition for natural resources, particularly land and water, competition between food and feed and by the need to operate in a carbon-constrained economy. Developments in breeding, nutrition and animal health will continue to contribute to increasing potential production and further efficiency and genetic gains. Livestock production is likely to be increasingly affected by carbon constraints and environmental and animal welfare legislation. Demand for livestock products in the future could be heavily moderated by socio-economic factors such as human health concerns and changing socio-cultural values. There is considerable uncertainty as to how these factors will play out in different regions of the world in the coming decades.[1]

Food, livestock production, energy, climate change, and health

Food provides energy and nutrients, but its acquisition requires energy expenditure. In post-hunter-gatherer societies, extra-somatic energy has greatly expanded and intensified the catching, gathering, and production of food. Modern relations between energy, food, and health are very complex, raising serious, high-level policy challenges. Together with persistent widespread under-nutrition, over-nutrition (and sedentarism) is causing obesity and associated serious health consequences. Worldwide, agricultural activity, especially livestock production, accounts for about a fifth of total greenhouse-gas emissions, thus contributing to climate change and its adverse health consequences, including the threat to food yields in many regions. Particular policy attention should be paid to the health risks posed by the rapid worldwide growth in meat consumption, both by exacerbating climate change and by directly contributing to certain diseases. To prevent increased greenhouse-gas emissions from this production sector, both the average worldwide consumption level of animal products and the intensity of emissions from livestock production must be reduced. An international contraction and convergence strategy offers a feasible route to such a goal. The current global average meat consumption is 100 g per person per day, with about a ten-fold variation between high-consuming and low-consuming populations. 90 g per day is proposed as a working global target, shared more evenly, with not more than 50 g per day coming from red meat from ruminants (ie, cattle, sheep, goats, and other digastric grazers.[2]

Improvement of livestock production in warm climates

This ambitious book sets out to cover aspects of the physiology, breeding, feeding and management of the major farm species in hot climates and to recommend how livestock development plans for such regions may be devised and carried out with success. It is intended primarily as a test for American university students and for those working in livestock programmes abroad.The first four chapters following the introduction are devoted to describing the animal’s environment and the effect of the latter on physiology and production. Forages and concentrate feeds are then given a chapter each, and the next three are concerned with breeds and breeding. After four chapters on various aspects of management, there follow sections contributed by Dr. R.C. Jones on sheep production in semi-arid areas, Dr. H.C. Pant and the Late Dr. A. Roy on the water buffalo, and Dr. E.J. Seigenthaler and J.R. Stouffer, respectively, on the handling of milk and meat in warm climates. The final chapter deals with planning for livestock improvement.The book will be particularly welcomed for its section on climate and climate physiology. The author deals with the responses of animals to thermal stress and with the suitability of various types to hot conditions. This is probably the most complete review of the subject to appear in book form, although based mainly on work with cattle in the USA; its other special value lies in the way field applications of scientific data are examined. The author then discusses the value of various physiological and anatomical measurements for predicting suitability to hot climates and shows convincingly why an animal’s adaptability to a certain environment should best be judged by its productive performance therein.The section on breeding may be the most controversial in the book for two main reasons. First, it is possibly misleading to students to characterise breeds by statistics presented in such a definitive fashion. Second, the discussion about genetic differences between tropical and temperate-zone breeds of dairy cattle may seem somewhat biased: so much of it is devoted to emphasising differences, for instance in survival rate, which are surely primarily due to environment. The picture might have been better balanced had data from European stock kept in tropical, rather than temperate, zones been used in this context, and it seems likely that the estimates of genetic differences for traits such as calving percentage would then have been smaller (page 289). The balance is not redressed in Chapter 10, where the comparative performance of European stock under tropical conditions is discussed briefly, because due weight seems not to be given to their very poor general record for reproduction and survival or to the high variability of their milk yields. It might also have been helpful to explain more clearly here how the scale of input costs, such as that of technical skill, is generally quite different for enterprises based on exotic compared with tropical stock and that this must be taken into account in assessing their relative efficiencies. Nevertheless, few will argue with the author’s recommendations on the choice of breeding programme, and his views on selection criteria, especially his concept of ‘total dairy merit’, deserve to be widely read and adopted.The complex requirements of successful livestock development plans are the subject of the final chapter. This is welcome, because the backward state of tropical animal industries must be partly blamed on the inability of animal scientists to formulate effective plans and convince politicians of their value. However, in the discussion of the aims of development, a stronger case might have been made for assistance to the small livestock farmer.In general, the great advantage of this book lies in the way the author draws on his wide scientific and practical experience to establish the principles on which tropical livestock industries should be based. His introduction into the English literature of an unprecedented amount of information about animal production in Latin America will also be welcomed. The book contains numerous interesting photographs and an excellent index. Two serious disadvantages concern the high proportion of errors and the choice of reference system. Some errors of fact are almost inevitable in a book of this scope; others, due to overgeneralisation, are perhaps permissible in a text of this kind. But the editors have allowed too many linguistic errors to remain, which frequently obscure meaning or are actually misleading. Although it was not written primarily for research workers, an opportunity has been missed of providing them, too, with a most valuable reference work. So many interesting pieces of information are quoted with no note as to their original source, and this is particularly disappointing where whole arguments are built on unreferenced material (e.g. page 373 et seq.) or where data are unique and unpublished as, for instance, those pertaining to the Colombian Costeno con Cuernos breed (pages 287-288). It will also cause some surprise that passages have been quoted almost verbatim from other sources without acknowledgement (e.g. page 118). It is to be hoped that future editions of this potentially excellent book will be properly edited and will contain a complete list of references.Lucia Vaccaro.[3]

Socioeconomic Determinants of Livestock Production Technology Adoption in Northern Ghana

The Northern region of Ghana hosts the largest number of livestock producers compared to the other regions, but output is still low despite the introduction of improved technologies which have the potential to increase livestock yields when adopted and provide better livelihoods to participating households. Consequently, adoption of improved technologies has been low, slow and uncertain. This study set out to examine factors that influence the adoption of livestock production technologies. One hundred and fifty (150) livestock farmers were randomly sampled from six communities in three districts of the region. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics and a logit regression model. The results showed that the low level of awareness of livestock production technologies have contributed to the low adoption by farmers. The logit regression results disclosed that the likelihood to adopt livestock production technology was significantly explained for 56% by extension contact, intent of producing livestock, number of children, herd size (for some animals species), source of stock, farm record keeping, education and gender. 44% of variation in adoption is therefore caused by other factors. It is recommended that any intervention to increase the adoption of livestock production technology should focus on creating greater awareness and also consider the specific policy variables that influence adoption.[4]

Training Needs Assessment of Women in Small Scale Livestock Production and Its Implication for Socio-economic Empowerement in Oyo State, Nigeria

The aim of this study was to assess the training needs of rural women in livestock production in Oyo State, Nigeria.  A multistage random sampling technique was used to collect data from 180 women from two (Ibadan/Ibarapa and Ogbomoso) zones of Oyo State Agricultural Development Programme (OYSADEP) using a well structure interview guide. The data was analyzed using frequency counts, percentages and mean while chi-square was used to test the relationship between variables. Results from the study showed that more than half (57.5%) of women were into poultry production having less than 30 birds as stock size. Also, 82.2% and 42.3% indicated a need for training on general management of poultry and on sheep and goat production respectively. Credit (85%), lack of capital (90%), high mortality rate (51.7%) and inadequate information (63.5%) were some of the constraints in livestock farming as indicated by the women. Chi-square analysis result showed that primary occupation and age was significant (P= 0.05) to training needs of women in pig production. It is therefore recommended that government development strategies be modified to encourage and empower through training in livestock production and also allow women to have access to credit as this will allow them boost their production level.[5]


[1] Thornton, P.K., 2010. Livestock production: recent trends, future prospects. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 365(1554), pp.2853-2867.

[2] McMichael, A.J., Powles, J.W., Butler, C.D. and Uauy, R., 2007. Food, livestock production, energy, climate change, and health. The lancet, 370(9594), pp.1253-1263.

[3] McDowell, R.E., 1972. Improvement of livestock production in warm climates. Improvement of livestock production in warm climates.

[4] Ansah, I.G.K., Eib, D. and Amoako, R., 2015. Socioeconomic determinants of livestock production technology adoption in northern Ghana. Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics & Sociology, pp.166-182.

[5] Oyegbami, A., Fato, B.F., Adeniran, A.A., Akintoye, N.A. and Ogarr, E.E., 2016. Training Needs Assessment of Women in Small Scale Livestock Production and Its Implication for Socio-economic Empowerement in Oyo State, Nigeria. Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics & Sociology, pp.1-8.

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