Climatic Change

, Volume 146, Issue 1–2, pp 5–17 | Cite as

Estimating climate change effects on grazing management and beef cattle production in the Pacific Northwest

  • J. Shannon NeibergsEmail author
  • Tipton D. Hudson
  • Chad E. Kruger
  • Kaelin Hamel-Rieken


Climate change studies consistently conclude that the Pacific Northwest (PNW) will increase in temperature with the greatest change occurring as hotter summer temperatures, precipitation becomes more uncertain with projections for wetter winters and drier summers, a decline in snowpack and an increase in wildfire risk. These impacts on rangeland and pastures affect forage growth and the timing of forage availability for grazing, affecting stocking rates, turn-out dates, and end of grazing gather dates. The magnitude of projected climate change will be dynamic year to year which adds significant challenges to implementing effective grazing management plans. The PNW has about 1.3 million head of beef cows that are the primary grazing resource users. Cow-calf producers’ production costs will increase to offset climate change impacts, but PNW cattle producers have an economic comparative advantage to other regions more negatively impacted by climate change such as the Southwest. The PNW is projected to have lower drought risk and the PNW’s extensive irrigation system can produce feedstuffs to offset drought-reduced grazing resources.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economic SciencesWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Extension, Washington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  3. 3.Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mount Vernon NW Research and Extension Center, and Puyallup Research and Extension CenterWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  4. 4.School of the EnvironmentWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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