Skip to main content

Focus on Livestock in the Southeast

Climate Impacts

Livestock operations are sensitive to climate change and variability. Heat stress reduces dairy and livestock production, with decreases in yields as great as 10% projected for the southeastern region. Climate changes impact the quality of feed and pasture resources and may result in higher feed prices. Vector-borne diseases from flies, mosquitoes, and ticks are expected to change in distribution and severity with climate conditions. More frequent or intense extreme weather events may increase animal morbidity. Increases in invasive (non-native) species can reduce pasture productivity by garnering water and nutrient resources. For more info, see Big Facts Climate Impacts on Livestock.

Adaptive Management

Selecting breeds that perform reasonably well across a range of production environments may increase livestock producers’ resilience to climate-related stress. Conservation practices such as nutrient management, rotational grazing, waste utilization, runoff management, and silvopasture can reduce economic risk and improve livestock condition, pasture yields, and pasture and water quality (see NRCS livestock factsheets). Improved water and soil management can contribute to additional grazing land outputs of wildlife habitat, clean water production, and recreation opportunities. Many of these practices will also conserve natural gas and other energy use and mitigate future climate changes. 

Hurricane Preparation and Recovery

Livestock producers in the Southeastern United States are unfortunately familiar with the devastation and loss of life and properly that can accompany a hurricane. To help producers remain resilient and productive after a hurricane, the USDA Southeast Climate Hub, along with other USDA agencies and university Extension experts, developed 23 Hurricane Preparation and Recovery Commodity Guides

View the Beef, Dairy, and Forage Producers Guides by selecting the links below: