European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Programme Category


Article available in the following languages:


Resilient livestock farming systems under climate change


Terrestrial livestock production is considered a large contributor to anthropogenic GHG emissions worldwide and emissions of pollutants to air and water. Although emission intensity in Europe is lower in comparison to many other regions of the world, options to better assess and improve the emissions balance of terrestrial livestock production, weather intensive or extensive/low input, including organic, are necessary, including the evaluation of appropriate indicators of GHG emissions in different breeds, environments and production systems, in order not to rely solely on a reduction of the demand in food of animal origin to improve the emission balance of the sector. A variety of options have been identified, but are not yet common practice, and the potential of breeding to contribute to an improved GHG balance was not much investigated so far. In addition, the likelihood of further climate change occurring, and the increasing scale of potential climate impacts require addressing agricultural adaptation of the livestock sector as well.

The proposals should investigate at different levels (animal, herd, farm and sector, region) and with a coherent approach, practices and innovations that enable a reduction of the net GHG emissions by terrestrial livestock, while striving to ensure farm viability and resilience of productions systems, including adaption to climate change, and taking into account the impact on the environment and biodiversity. Trade-offs within and between the different levels should be addressed. At animal level, the research should use systems biology to study interactions between host and environment (e.g. feed and microbes) and how this interplay affects the efficiency of feed utilisation (energy and proteins) and GHG emissions, not least methane. Proposals should define and investigate traits/phenotypes, and the potential of breeding, to reduce GHG animal emissions or/and adapt to climate change. At farm level, different husbandry practices should be addressed. At sector/regional level, a system approach should investigate how different actors can cooperate to improve the GHG balance of livestock production, optimising the use of resources, including feed (e.g. production and origin), improving circularity. In addition to biophysical research, the proposals should address the potential socio-economic impact of the proposed practices and innovations, and look at options to facilitate their uptake. Proposals should develop or refine related tools for a proper assessment of practices and proposed innovations. Proposals should take into account novel farming systems and future scenarios, different breeds, particularly local breeds, various management approaches, climatic conditions and regional specificities. Proposals should address at least cattle and pigs and may address any other relevant species.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement. Proposals must implement the 'multi-actor approach’ and ensure adequate involvement of the farming sector, terrestrial livestock breeders, advisers and other relevant actors.

The proposals should take into account other EU-funded projects, including those funded under the ERA-NETs SusAn[[]] and ERA-GAS[[]].