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A deterministic evaluation of heat stress mitigation and feed cost under climate change within the smallholder dairy sector

York, L; Heffernan, C; Rymer, C; Panda, N


L York

C Heffernan

C Rymer

N Panda


In the global South, dairying is often promoted as a means of poverty alleviation. Yet, under conditions of climate warming, little is known regarding the ability of small-scale dairy producers to maintain production and/or the robustness of possible adaptation options in meeting the challenges presented, particularly heat stress. The authors created a simple, deterministic model to explore the influence of breed and heat stress relief options on smallholder dairy farmers in Odisha, India. Breeds included indigenous Indian (non-descript), low-grade Jersey crossbreed and high-grade Jersey crossbreed. Relief strategies included providing shade, fanning and bathing. The impact of predicted critical global climate parameters, a 2°C and 4°C temperature rise were explored. A feed price scenario was modelled to illustrate the importance of feed in impact estimation. Feed costs were increased by 10% to 30%. Across the simulations, high-grade Jersey crossbreeds maintained higher milk yields, despite being the most sensitive to the negative effects of temperature. Low-capital relief strategies were the most effective at reducing heat stress impacts on household income. However, as feed costs increased the lower-grade Jersey crossbreed became the most profitable breed. The high-grade Jersey crossbreed was only marginally (4.64%) more profitable than the indigenous breed. The results demonstrate the importance of understanding the factors and practical trade-offs that underpin adaptation. The model also highlights the need for hot-climate dairying projects and programmes to consider animal genetic resources alongside environmentally sustainable adaptation measures for greatest poverty impact.


York, L., Heffernan, C., Rymer, C., & Panda, N. (2017). A deterministic evaluation of heat stress mitigation and feed cost under climate change within the smallholder dairy sector. animal, 11(5),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 20, 2016
Publication Date Jan 1, 2017
Deposit Date Jun 19, 2018
Journal Animal
Print ISSN 1751-7311
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Volume 11
Issue 5
Public URL