A recent report released by the UnitedNations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) urges governmentsworldwide to take urgentsteps to slow global warming toa maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius abovepre-industrial levels, half a degree less thanthe 2 degrees Celsius goal set by the Parisclimate agreement. The document warnsthat, without major changes over the next12 years, an increasing global temperaturewill result in a major threat to food security,frequent extreme weather events andmany other adverse environmental and societalconsequences.To narrow the scope to crop production,climate change is a “three-way interaction”between elevated carbon dioxide (CO2), risingtemperatures and extreme water stress, whichincludes drought and excessive precipitation.“Together, these three provide a muchhigher impact on the cereal supply andits quality across the feed and food chainsthan each do individually,” says NareshMagan, professor of applied mycology,Cran eld University.
Beyond the obvious environmental and food security implications climate change will have on human populations, it will pose a specific set of safety, supply and management challenges for livestock and feed producers.
5 ways climate change Will affect the global feed industry
Commodity sustainability, safety and quality are among the greatest challenges to feed production over the next decade. Here are five ways climate change is affecting the global feed industry.
1 Crop production ■ Decreased yields: Climate change threatens the yield of staple feedstocks. For example, research suggests that a temperature increase of 4 degrees Celsius and the doubling of CO2 (350 vs. 650 ppm) would result in yield penalties of 40 to 50 percent in soybean production and 10 to 20 percent decreases in corn and wheat. “The food chain is global,” Magan says. “If you have substantially less of a staple crop in a key production region, it’s going to impact the rest of the world.” ■ Weeds takeover: Under climate change conditions, weeds grow faster than cereals, which will also impact yield and quality. “This means inputs will have to be higher, which has an economic impact,” Magan says, noting that accelerated weed growth can hinder crop growth by 40 percent. ■ Crop distribution: Rising temperatures will allow crops to grow in new regions, which may provide new commodity sourcing opportunities. ■ Opportunity for new genetically modified (GM) crops: New seed technologies will increasingly aim to cultivate weather-, disease-, toxin- and pest-resistant strains. However, in Magan’s opinion, regional GM regulations will give large markets without constraints a competitive advantage.
2 Increased mycotoxin contamination Extreme weather events and rising temperatures create the perfect conditions for mycotoxin contamination. Mycotoxins, which are the natural toxic secondary metabolic products of molds, will be the main challenge facing the animal feed industry in the future. “Climate change will create stronger variations in mycotoxin occurrences,” says Paola Battilani, professor of plant pathology at the Università Cattolica del Sacro cuore, Italy. “In principle, we believe there will be increased instances of aflatoxin, which is the most dangerous to humans and animals, but also variations and increases in mycotoxin co-occurrence.” Mycotoxin variations caused by climate change can also pose additional production and risk mitigation challenges: ■ Multiple mycotoxins: Fungi will often co-occur and multiple toxin contaminations will follow. The synergistic impact of multiple mycotoxin contamination in feedstuffs pose animal health challenges and alter anticipated effects and management strategies. New mycotoxin co-occurrences will be the norm in the future, Battilani says. ■ Masked mycotoxins: Masked mycotoxins are produced by a specific biochemical reaction in plants where “mycotoxins can be bound to certain molecules, including glycosides, glucuronides, fatty acid esters and proteins.” Due to their biochemical composition, it is difficult to identify masked mycotoxins using traditional testing methods. In addition to negative health effects, spoilage and mycotoxigenic molds can also reduce the nutritional