Vulnerability of grazing and confined livestock in the Northern Great Plains to projected mid- and late-twenty-first century climate

  • Justin Derner
  • David Briske
  • Matt Reeves
  • Tami Brown-Brandl
  • Miranda Meehan
  • Dana Blumenthal
  • William Travis
  • David Augustine
  • Hailey Wilmer
  • Derek Scasta
  • John Hendrickson
  • Jerry Volesky
  • Laura Edwards
  • Dannele Peck
Article

Abstract

The Northern Great Plains (NGP) region of the USA—which comprises Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska—is a largely rural area that provides numerous ecosystem services, including livestock products, cultural services, and conservation of biological diversity. The region contains 25% of the Nation’s beef cattle and approximately one-third of the confined beef cattle, as well as the largest remaining native prairie in the US—the Northern Mixedgrass Prairie. With rising atmospheric CO2, the NGP is projected to experience warmer and longer growing seasons, greater climatic variability, and more extreme events (e.g., increased occurrence of large precipitation events). These climatic changes may affect livestock production both directly via physiological impacts on animals and indirectly via modifications to forage, invasion of undesirable plants, and increased exposure to parasites. This raises concerns about the vulnerability of grazing livestock operations and confined livestock operations to projected changes in mid- (2050) and late- (2085) twenty-first century climate. Our objectives are to (1) describe the NGP’s exposure to temperature and precipitation trends, inter-annual variability, and extreme events; (2) evaluate the sensitivity of beef cattle production to direct and indirect effects imposed by these projected climatic changes; and (3) provide a typology of adaptation strategies to minimize adverse consequences of projected changes and maximize beneficial consequences. Agricultural managers have developed considerable adaptive capacity to contend with environmental and economic variability. However, projected climatic changes, especially the increased frequency and magnitude of weather extremes, will require even greater adaptive capacity to maintain viable production systems. Consequently, regional vulnerability to projected climatic changes will be determined not only by ecological responses but also by the adaptive capacity of individual managers. Adaptive capacity in the NGP will differ from other regions, in part because projections suggest some opportunities for increased livestock production. Adaptations in both grazing and confined beef cattle systems will require enhanced decision-making skills capable of integrating biophysical, social, and economic considerations. Social learning networks that support integration of experimental and experiential knowledge—such as lessons learned from early adopters and involvement with science-based organizations—can help enhance decision-making and climate adaptation planning. Many adaptations have already been implemented by a subset of producers in this region, providing opportunities for assessment, further development, and greater adoption. Context-specific decision-making can also be enhanced through science-management partnerships, which aim to build adaptive capacity that recognizes multiple production and conservation/environmental goals.

References

  1. Adger WN (2006) Vulnerability. Glob Environ Chang 15:268–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Badeck FW, Bondeau A, Bottcher K, Doktor D, Lucht W, Schaber J, Sitch S (2004) Responses of spring phenology to climate change. New Phytol 162:295–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey DW, Lunt S, Lipka A, Thomas MG, Medrano JF, Cánovas A, Rincon G, Stephenson MB, Jensen D (2015) Genetic influences on cattle grazing distribution: association of genetic markers with terrain use in cattle. Rangel Ecolog Manag 68:142–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bear DA, Russell JR, Tufekcioglu M, Isenhart TM, Morrical DG, Kovar JL (2012) Stocking rate and riparian vegetation effects on physical characteristics of riparian zones of Midwestern pastures. Rangel Ecol Manag 65(2):119–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blumenthal DM, Resco V, Morgan JA, Williams DG, LeCain DR, Hardy EM, Pendall E, Bladyka E (2013) Invasive forb benefits from water savings by native plants and carbon fertilization under elevated CO2 and warming. New Phytol. doi:10.1111/nph.12459
  6. Blumenthal DM, Kray JA, Ortmans W, Ziska LH, Pendall E (2016) Cheatgrass is favored by warming but not CO2 enrichment in a semi-arid grassland. Glob Chang Biol 22:3026–3038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bradley BA, Oppenheimber M, Wilcove DS (2009) Climate change and plant invasions: restoration opportunities ahead? Glob Chang Biol 15:1511–1521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Briske DD, Zhao M, Han G, Xiu C, Kemp DR (2015) Strategies to alleviate poverty and grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia: intensification vs production efficiency of livestock systems. J Environ Manag 152:177–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown-Brandl TM, Eigenberg A, Nienaber JA (2010) Water spray cooling during handling of feedlot cattle. Intl J Biometeor 54:609–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brown-Brandl TM, Eigenberg RA, Nienaber JA (2013) Benefits of providing shade to feedlot cattle of different breeds. Trans Agric Biol Eng 56:1563–1570Google Scholar
  11. Busby D, Loy D (1996) Heat stress in feedlot cattle: producer survey results. Pages 108–110 in Iowa State University beef research report AS-632. Iowa State University, Ames, IAGoogle Scholar
  12. Chambers PA, Culp JM, Roberts ES, Bowerman M (2012) Development of environmental thresholds for streams in agricultural watersheds. J Environ Qual 41:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dantas-Torres F (2015) Climate change, biodiversity, ticks and tick-borne diseases: the butterfly effect. Intl J Parasitolog: Parasit Wildl 4(3):452–461Google Scholar
  14. Derner JD, Augustine DJ (2016) Adaptive management for drought on rangelands. Rangel 38:211–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Derner JD, Lauenroth WK, Stapp P, Augustine DJ (2009) Livestock as ecosystem engineers for grassland bird habitat in the western Great Plains of North America. Rangel Ecolog Manag 62:111–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Derner JD, Augustine DJ, Ascough JC II, Ahuja LR (2012) Opportunities for increasing utility of models for rangeland management. Rangel Ecolog Manag 65:623–631CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Didier EA, Brunson MW (2004) Adoption of range management innovations by Utah ranchers. Range Ecol Manag 57:330–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dumont B, Andueza D, Niderkorn V, Lüscher A, Porqueddu C, Picon-Cochard C (2015) A meta-analysis of climate change effects on forage quality in grasslands: specificities of mountain and Mediterranean areas. Grass Forage Sci 70:239–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Evans SG, Pelster AJ, Leininger WC, Trlica MJ (2004) Diet selection of cattle grazing a montane riparian community. J Range Manag 57:539–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Frost R, Walker J, Madsen C, Holes R, Lehfeldt J, Cunningham J, Voth K, Welling B, Davis TZ, Bradford D, Malot J, Sullivan J (2012) Targeted grazing: applying the research to the land. Rangel 34:2–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gaughan JB, Mader TL, Holt SM, Sullivan ML, Hahn GL (2010) Assessing the heat tolerance of 17 beef cattle genotypes. Intl J Biometeor 54:617–627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goulson D, Derwent LC, Hanley ME, Dunn DW, Abolins SR (2005) Predicting calyptrate fly populations from the weather, and probable consequences of climate change. J. Appl Ecol 42:795–804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gregory SV, Swanson FJ, McKee WA, Cummins KW (1991) An ecosystem perspective of riparian zones. BioSci 41:540–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grudzinski BP, Daniels MD, Anibas K, Spencer D (2016) Bison and cattle grazing management, bare ground coverage, and links to suspended sediment concentrations in grassland streams. J Amer Water Res Assoc 52(1):16–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hallegatte S (2009) Strategies to adapt to an uncertain climate change. Glob Environ Chang 19(2):240–247. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2008.12.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hamilton TW, Ritten JP, Bastian CT, Derner JD, Tanaka JA (2016) Economic impacts of increasing seasonal precipitation variation on southeast Wyoming cow-calf enterprises. Rangel Ecol Manag 69(6):465–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hammond AC, Chase CC, Bowers EJ, Olson TA, Randel RD (1998) Heat tolerance in Tuli-, Senepol-, and Brahman-sired F1 Angus heifers in Florida. J Ani Sci 76:1568–1577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Heisler-White JL, Blair JM, Kelly EF, Harmoney K, Knapp AK (2009) Contingent productivity responses to more extreme rainfall regimes across a grassland biome. Glob Chang Biol 15:2894–2904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hoberg EP, Polley L, Jenkins EJ, Kutz SJ (2008) Pathogens of domestic and free-ranging ungulates: global climate change in temperate to boreal latitudes across North America. Rev Sci Tech Off Int Epiz 27(2):511–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Howden SM, Soussana JF, Tubeillo FN, Chhetri N, Dunlop M, Meinke H (2007) Adapting agriculture to climate change. PNAS 104:19691–19696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Izaurralde RC, Thomson AM, Morgan JA, Fay PA, Polley HW, Hatfield JL (2011) Climate impacts on agriculture: implications for forage and rangeland production. Agron J 103:371–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Joyce LA, Briske DD, Brown JR, Polley HW, McCarl BA, Bailey DW (2013) Climate change and North American rangelands: assessment of mitigation and adaptation strategies. Rangel Ecol Manag 66(5):512–528. doi:10.2111/REM-D-12-00142.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kachergis E, Derner JD, Cutts BB, Roche LM, Eviner VT, Lubell MN, Tate KW (2014) Increasing flexibility in rangeland management during drought. Ecosphere 5:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kates RW, Travis WR, Wilbanks TJ (2012) Transformational adaptation when incremental adaptations to climate change are insufficient. PNAS 109:7156–7161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Khaleel R, Reddy KR, Overcash MR (1981) Changes in soil physical properties due to organic waste applications: a review. J Environ Qual 10:133–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Krafsur ES, Moon RD (1997) Bionomics of the face fly, Musca autumnalis. Annual Review of Entomol 42:503–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lark TJ, Salmon JM, Gibbs HK (2015) Cropland expansion outpaces agricultural and biofuel policies in the United States. Environ Res Lett. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/4/04.4003
  38. Lysyk TJ (1999) Effect of temperature on time to eclosion and spring emergence of postdiapausing horn flies (Diptera:Muscidae). Environ Entomol 28:387–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mader TL (2003) Environmental stress in confined beef cattle. J Ani Sci 81:E110–E119Google Scholar
  40. Mader TL, Dahlquist JM, Gaughan JB (1997) Wind protection effects and airflow patterns in outside feedlots. J Ani Sci 75:26–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mader TL, Davis MS, Brown-Brandl T (2006) Environmental factors influencing heat stress in feedlot cattle. J Ani Sci 84:712–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Marshall NS (2010) Understanding social resilience to climate variability in primary enterprises and industries. Glob Environ Chang 20:36–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Marshall NA, Smajgl A (2013) Understanding variability in adaptive capacity on rangelands. Rangel Ecol Manag 66:88–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McCartney D, Basarab JA, Okine EK, Baron VS, Depalme AJ (2004) Alternative fall and winter feeding systems for spring calving beef cows. Can J Ani Sci 84:51–522Google Scholar
  45. Milchunas DG, Mosier AR, Morgan JA, LeCain DR, King JY, Nelson JA (2005) Elevated CO2 and defoliation effects on a shortgrass steppe: forage quality versus quantity for ruminants. Agric Ecosys Environ 111:166–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mortenson MC, Schuman GE, Ingram LJ, Vayigihugu V, Hess BW (2005) Forage production and quality of a mixed-grass rangeland interseeded with Medicago sativa ssp. falcata. Rangel Ecol Manag 58:505–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Moss R, Scarlett PL, Kenney MA, Kunreuther HC, Lempert R, Manning J et al (2014) Decision support: connecting science, risk perception, and decisions. In: Melilo JM, Richmond TC, Yohe GW (eds) Climate change impacts in the United States: the third National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington DC. doi:10.7930/J0H12ZXG Google Scholar
  48. Mueller KE, Blumenthal DM, Pendall E, Carrillo Y, Dijkstra FA, Williams DG, Follett RF, Morgan JA (2016) Impacts of warming and elevated CO2 on a semi-arid grassland are non-additive, shift with precipitation, and reverse over time. Ecol Lett 19:956–966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Muller B, Quaas MF, Frank K, Baumgartner S (2011) Pitfalls and potential of institutional change: rain-index insurance and the sustainability of rangeland management. Ecol Econ 70:2137–2144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nardone A, Ronchi B, Lacetera N, Ranieri MS, Bernabucci U (2010) Effects of climate change on animal production and sustainability of livestock systems. Livest Sci 130:57–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. National Agricultural Statistics Service (2012) Census of agricultureGoogle Scholar
  52. Nelson DR, Adger WN, Brown K (2007) Adaptation to environmental change: contributions of a resilience framework. Annu Rev Environ Resour 32:395–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Nelson R, Kokic P, Crimp S, Howden SM (2010) The vulnerability of Australian rural communities to climate variability and change: part 1—conceptualising and measuring vulnerability. Environ Sci Pol 13:8–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Peinetti HR, Fredrickson EL, Peters DPC, Cibils AF, Roacho-Estrada JO, Laliberte AS (2011) Foraging behavior of heritage versus recently introduced herbivores on desert landscapes of the American Southwest. Ecosphere 2(5):1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pierce DW, Cayan DR, Thrasher BL (2014) Statistical downscaling using localized constructed analogs (LOCA). J Hydrometeorol 15:2558–2585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pierce DW, Cayan DR, Maurer EP, Abatzoglou JT, Hegewisch KC (2015) Improved bias correction techniques for hydrological simulations of climate change. J Hydrometeorol 16:2421–2442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Polley HW, Briske DD, Morgan JA, Wolter K, Bailey DW, Brown JR (2013) Climate change and North American rangelands: trends, projections, and implications. Rangel Ecol Manag 66(5):493–511. doi:10.2111/REM-D-12-00068.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rashford BS, Adams RM, Wu J, Voldseth RA, Guntenspergen GR, Werner B, Johnson WC (2016) Impacts of climate change on land use and wetland productivity in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America. Regional Environ Change 16:515–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Reeves M, Moreno A, Bagne K, Running SW (2014) Estimating the effects of climate change on net primary production of US rangelands. Clim Chang 126:429–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Reyes-Fox M, Steltzer H, Trlica MJ, McMaster GS, Andales AA, LeCain DR, Morgan JA (2014) Elevated CO2 further lengthens growing season under warming conditions. Nat 510:259–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rickards L, Howden SM (2012) Transformational adaptation: agriculture and climate change. Crop & Pasture Sci 63:240–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rinella MJ, Bellows SE (2015) Evidence-targeted grazing benefits to invaded rangelands can increase over extended time frames. Rangel Ecol Manag 69:169–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Ritten JP, Frasier WM, Bastian CT, Gray ST (2010) Optimal rangeland stocking decisions under stochastic and climate-impacted weather. Am J Agric Econ 92(4):1242–1255. doi:10.1093/ajae/aaq052 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Roche LM, Cutts BB, Derner JD, Lubell MN, Tate KW (2015) On-ranch grazing strategies: context for the rotational grazing dilemma. Rangel Ecol Manag 68:248–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rose H, Wang T, van Dijk J, Morgan ER (2015) GLOWORM-FL: a simulation model of the effects of climate and climate change on the free-living stages of gastro-intestinal nematode parasites of ruminants. Ecol Model 297:232–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Ryberg KR, Akyuz FA, Wiche GJ, Lin W (2016) Changes in seasonality and timing of peak streamflow in snow and semi-arid climates of the north-central United States, 1910-2012. Hydrol Process 30:1208–1218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Scasta JD (2015) Livestock parasite management on high-elevation rangelands: ecological interactions of climate, habitat, and wildlife. J Integr Pest Manag 6(1):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Scasta JD, Talley JL, Engle DM, Debinski DM (2017) Climate extremes, vegetation change, and decoupling of interactive fire-grazing processes exacerbate fly parasitism of cattle. Environ Entomol 46:191–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Shafroth PB, Stromberg JC, Patten DT (2002) Riparian vegetation response to altered disturbance and stress regimes. Ecol Appl 12:107–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Stockton MC, Adams DC, Wilson RK, Klpenstein TJ, Clark RT, Carriker GI (2007) Production and economic comparisons of two calving dates for beef cows in the Nebraska Sandhills. Prof Anim Sci 23:500–508Google Scholar
  71. St-Pierre NR, Cobanov B, Schnitkey G (2003) Economic losses from heat stress by US livestock industries. J Dairy Sci 86:E52–E77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Tolleson DR, Schafer DW (2014) Application of fecal near-infrared spectroscopy and nutritional balance software to monitor diet quality and body condition in beef cows grazing Arizona rangeland. J Ani Sci 92:349–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Torell LA, Murugan S, Ramirez OA (2010) Economics of flexible versus conservative stocking strategies to manage climate variability risk. Rangel Ecol Manag 63:415–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Troy TJ, Kipgen JC, Pal I (2015) The impact of climate extremes and irrigation on US crop yields. Environ Res Letters 10. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/5/054013
  75. Vincent K (2007) Uncertainty in adaptive capacity and the importance of scale. Glob Environ Chang 17:12–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wright CK, Wimberly MC (2013) Recent land use change in the Western Corn Belt threatens grasslands and wetlands. PNAS 110:4134–4139CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Derner
    • 1
  • David Briske
    • 2
  • Matt Reeves
    • 3
  • Tami Brown-Brandl
    • 4
  • Miranda Meehan
    • 5
  • Dana Blumenthal
    • 6
  • William Travis
    • 7
  • David Augustine
    • 6
  • Hailey Wilmer
    • 6
  • Derek Scasta
    • 8
  • John Hendrickson
    • 9
  • Jerry Volesky
    • 10
  • Laura Edwards
    • 11
  • Dannele Peck
    • 6
  1. 1.USDA-ARSCheyenneUSA
  2. 2.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.USDA-FSMissoulaUSA
  4. 4.USDA-ARSClay CenterUSA
  5. 5.North Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  6. 6.USDA-ARSFort CollinsUSA
  7. 7.Western Water AssociationUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  8. 8.University of WyomingLaramieUSA
  9. 9.USDA-ARSMandanUSA
  10. 10.University of Nebraska-LincolnNorth PlatteUSA
  11. 11.South Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA

Personalised recommendations