Presentation

LFS commission envision livestock farming systems in its broadest sense, from the individual farm, to the local ecosystem, and to communities. The commission’s goal is to understand and resolve sustainability issues of livestock farming.

The focus is a holistic view of the system performance, not least because optimizing individual parts tends to have unintended consequences elsewhere in the system and therefore can reduce overall system performance, with complex trade-offs. With holistic management, the aim is to achieve productivity through synergy – through building wholes that are greater than the sum of their parts.

A systems approach gives us the tools to explore the interconnections within a livestock farm and between farming and other aspects of our environment. These include concepts that are fundamental when addressing sustainability in livestock farming systems: ecosystem services, resilience, rural development, climate change mitigation and adaptation, health and well-being of people as well as health, welfare and robustness of soil, plants, animals and ecosystems.

 

Aim

Livestock Farming Systems researchers typically study interactions at the:

  • farm level: interactions between cropping, grassland management and animal husbandry, between on- and off- farm work, between technologies, agro-ecosystems and production economics
  • territorial level: interactions between production methods, food nutritional value, cultural landscapes, economic incentives and farm diversity, farmers and other rural actors
  • chain level: interactions between farm and other actors along the food chain

The bundle of methods used reaches from instrumented farms (such as those within the Global Farm Platform network; www.globalfarmplatform.org), whole farm simulation and optimization models, life cycle assessment, landscape modelling, participatory approaches, experimental research and all approaches that aim to explore interconnections at farm, regional and chain level.

Finally, a systems approach implies interdisciplinary efforts in research. This requires not only the input of researchers from various disciplines, but also farmers, farmworkers, consumers and policymakers.

Publications

EISLER M.C., LEE M.R.F., TARLTON J.F., MARTIN G.B., BEDDINGTON J., DUNGAIT J.A.J., GREATHEAD H., LIU J., MATHEW S., MILLER H., MISSELBROOK T., MURRAY P., VINOD V.K., VAN SAUN R., WINTER M. 2014. Steps to sustainable livestock. Nature 507: 32-34

SIQUEIRA T.T.S., DURU M. 2016. Economics and environmental performance issues of a typical Amazonian beef farm: a case study. Journal of Cleaner Production 112: 2485-2494.

ORR R.J., EYLES, C.J., BLACKWELL M.S.A., CARDENAS L.M., COLLINS A.L., CRAWFORD J., DUNGAIT J., GOULDING K., GRITTITH B., GURR S., HARRIS P., HAWKINS J.M.B., MISSELBROOK T., MURRAY P.J., RAWLINGS C., SHEPHERD A., TAKAHASHI T., WU L., LEE M.R.F. 2016. The UK North Wyke Farm Platform: A Systems approach to study the impact and value of temperate grassland farming. European Journal of Soil Science 64: 374-385.

MCAULIFFE G.A., TAKAHASHI T., ORR R., HARRIS P. LEE M.R.F. 2017. Distributions of global warming potential for individual cattle reared on three pasture-based beef production systems. Journal of Cleaner Production. 171: 1672-1680.

WILKINSON J.M., LEE M.R.F. 2018. Use of human-edible animal feeds by ruminant livestock. Animal 12: 1733-1743.

BAI Z.., LEE M.R.F., LIN M., LEDGARD S., OENEMA O., VELTHOL G. L., MA W., GUO M., ZHANQING Z., WEI S., LI S., LIU X., HAVLIK P., LUO J., HU C., ZHANG F. 2018. The global impact of China’s thirst for milk: a scenario analysis using a nexus approach. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14047

TAKAHASHI T, HARRIS P, BLACKWELL MSA, CARDENAS LM, COLLINS AL, DUNGAIT JAJ, HAWKINS J, MISSELBROOK T, MCAULIFFE GA, MCFADZEAN J, MURRAY PJ, ORR RJ, RIVERO-VIERA, MJ, WU L, LEE MRF. 2018. The role of high-resolution primary data in trade-off assessments of pasture-based livestock production systems. Animal. 12: 1766-1776.

ZHAOHAI B., LIN M., VELTHOF G.L. ZHUBIAO E., HAVLIK P., OENEMA O., LEE M.R.F., ZHANG F. 2018. China’s livestock transition: driving forces, impacts and consequences. Science Advances 4: eaar8534

MCAULIFFE G.A., TAKAHASHI T., LEE M.R.F. 2018. Life cycle assessment of livestock production systems based on nutritional values of product: a case study with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Food and Energy Security 7: doi: 10.1002/fes3.143.

DICKS, L; ROSE, D; ANG, F; ASTON, S; BIRCH, N; BOATMAN, N; BOWLES, E; CHADWICK, D; DINSDALE, A; DURHAM, S; ELLIOTT, J; FIRBANK, L; HUMPHREYS, S; JARVIS, P; JONES, D; KINDRED, D; KNIGHT, S; LEE, M; LOBLEY, M; MATTHEWS, K; MIDMER, A; MOORE, M; MORRIS, C; MORTIMER, S; MURRAY, T; NORMAN, K; RAMSDEN, S; ROBERTS, D; SMITH, L; SOFFE, R; STOATE, C; TAYLOR, B; TINKER, D; TOPLIFF, M; WALLACE, J; WILLIAMS, P; WILSON, P; WINTER, M; SUTHERLAND, W. 2018. What agricultural practices are most likely to deliver ‘sustainable intensification’ in the UK? Food and Energy Security 8. e00148. doi: 10.1002/fes3.148

MCAULIFFE G.A., TAKAHASHI T., LEE M.R.F. 2019. Current utilisation of nutritional composition in commodity-level life cycle assessment (LCA) of agri-food systems. International Journal of LCA. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-019-01679-7

WILKINSON J.M., LEE M.R.F., RIVERO M.J., CHAMBERLAIN A.T. 2020. Grazing farm livestock on temperate pastures:  Some challenges and opportunities. Grass and Forage Science. 75, 1-17 (doi:10.111/gfs.12458)

Other Activities

The livestock farming commission connects research groups across europe with leading European organisations such as Wageningen University (The Netherlands), LfL (Germany), INRA (France), Rothamsted Research (UK) and UCD (Ireland) active drivers of the group.

The commission also links with the Global Farm Platform initiative https://www.globalfarmplatform.org/ that attracts researchers from different communities and disciplines seeking to develop sustainable ruminant production globally. The LFS commission also works across many EU Framework Programs and actively contributes to Animal Task Force http://animaltaskforce.eu/.

Future Plans

The commission is working hard on identifying the true position of livestock farming systems to deliver healthy human diets within sustainable planetary boundaries. We have developed an exciting programme for Porto in 2020. If you feel passionately about sustainable livestock agriculture and systems-based farming research, we hope to see many of you there to engage and to become more active in the commission

We actively seek engagement from researchers and research groups across Europe to become more involved with the commission, through either collaborative research, participation in our events, attendance at our sessions at the annual meeting and commission meetings. We also request you to suggest research papers aligned to LFS’s research, so we have a wider extent of publications from a broader church of researchers which we can advertise on our web page.

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Sessions for the next EAAP meetings

  1. ‘Net Zero-Carbon’ – How is it possible in livestock farming systems?
  2. Sustainable land use for healthy humans and a healthy planet
  3. Innovative farm systems to meet societal demand
  4. Addressing challenges to improve the resilience of agro-pastoral farming systems – with the Mediterrean Working Group
  5. Sustainable land use with equidae/ Green services provided by equids – with the Horse commission
  6. Integration of beef and dairy production – with the Cattle commission
Commission Members
lee

President
Michael Lee
University of Bristol and Rothamsted Research (UK)
e-mail

Vice-President
Monika Zehetmeier
Bavarian State Research Center, Institute for Agricultural Economics (Germany)
e-mail

Secretaries
Tommy Boland
University College Dublin (Ireland)

R. Ripoll-Bosch
Wageningen University (Netherlands)

Vincent Thenard
INRA (France)

Industry Representative
Alfredo J. Escribano (Spain)

Young Scientist
Tiago Teixeira da Silva Siqueira (France)
Maria Karatzia (Greece)