America’s cattle herds will shrink – not in number, but in weight and yield – as the climate warms, according to new research that delivers an ominous warning for farmers, reports Tim Radford at Climate News Network. An extensive study of bison, recently published in the online journal PloS One, has confirmed that animals from warmer, drier grasslands weigh considerably less on average than those from cool, wet ranges. The difference is substantial: bison from warmer areas weighed, on average one third less than those in cooler climates. “We know that temperatures are going to go up,” says study author Joseph Craine. “We also know that warmer grasslands have grasses with less protein, and we now know that warmer grasslands have smaller grazers. It all lines up to suggest that climate change will cause grasses to have less protein, and cause grazers to gain less weight in future.” And as temperatures rise, rain is likely to decrease, resulting in less plant growth. If the same reduced weight applies to beef cattle as to bison, the finding is “a pretty clear indication” of bad news for food security and for ranchers.
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Climate Change To Clobber Cattle Industry says a study on US bison, reports Tim Radford at Climate News Network. Researchers found that bison in warmer areas weighed considerably less than their colder brothers. The study predicts that under warmer climate individual US cattle will weigh, and be worth, far less, cutting profits. Time to beef Congress… http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/06/cattle-weight-loss-means-slimmer-profits/