Land use change in Australian mixed crop-livestock systems as a transformative climate change adaptation

Afshin Ghahramani, Ross S. Kingwell, Tek Narayan Maraseni

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Abstract

Mixed crop-livestock farming systems provide food for over half of the global population. However, some important food exporting countries, like Australia, are predicted to be vulnerable to climate change and may require transformative adaptations if they are to continue their role in food exportation. This paper assesses the potential impacts of projected climate change by 2030 (0.4–1.6° increase in mean temperature) on Australian mixed crop-livestock systems and examines the consequences of shifts in land allocations to cropping and grazing, in these systems, as an adaptation option. Farm bio-economic simulation models were developed for these mixed enterprise systems in several regions of Australia. These models were based on biophysically coupled crop, pasture, and livestock simulation models that in turn drew on site-based downscaled climate projection datasets. The farm models calculated farm profitability and risk measures. A range of land use changes was investigated. At drier locations facing adverse climate change, results showed a transition towards a greater emphasis on livestock production could be beneficial when assessed against multiple criteria of farm profit, downside financial risk, and environmental damage. We highlight some industry and government actions and policies that could facilitate these preferred adaptation strategies at such locations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102791
JournalAgricultural Systems
Volume180
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

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