The present study employed the Heckman sample selection model to analyse the two- step process of adaptation to climate change, which initially requires farmers' perception that climate is changing prior to responding to changes through adaptation. Farmers' perception of climate change was significantly related to the age of the head of the household, wealth, knowledge of climate change, social capital and agro-ecological settings. Factors significantly affecting adaptation to climate change were: education of the head of the household, household size, whether the head of the household was male, whether livestock were owned, the use of extension services on crop and livestock production, the availability of credit and the environmental temperature.
This review compares and contrasts postharvest food losses (PHLs) and waste in developed countries (especially the USA and the UK) with those in less developed countries (LDCs), especially the case of cereals in sub-Saharan Africa. Reducing food losses oilers an important way of increasing food availability without requiring additional production resources, and in LDCs it can contribute to rural development and poverty reduction by improving agribusiness livelihoods. The critical factors governing PHLs and food waste are mostly after the farm gate in developed countries but before the farm gate in LDCs. In the foreseeable future (e.g. up to 2030), the main drivers for reducing PHLs differ: in the developed world, they include consumer education campaigns, carefully targeted taxation and private and public sector partnerships sharing the responsibility for loss reduction. The LDCs' drivers include more widespread education of farmers in the causes of PHLs; better infrastructure to connect smallholders to markets; more effective value chains that provide sufficient financial incentives at the producer level; opportunities to adopt collective marketing and better technologies supported by access to microcredit; and the public and private sectors sharing the investment costs and risks in market-orientated interventions.
The predicted 2-4 degrees C increment in temperature by the end of the 21st Century poses a threat to rice production. The impact of high temperatures at night is more devastating than day-time or mean daily temperatures. Booting and flowering are the stages most sensitive to high temperature, which may sometimes lead to complete sterility. Humidity also plays a vital role in increasing the spikelet sterility at increased temperature. Significant variation exists among rice germplasms in response to temperature stress. Flowering at cooler times of day, more pollen viability, larger anthers, longer basal dehiscence and presence of long basal pores are some of the phenotypic markers for high-temperature tolerance. Protection of structural proteins, enzymes and membranes and expression of heat shock proteins (HSPs) are some of the biochemical processes that can impart thermo-tolerance. All these traits should be actively exploited in future breeding programmes for developing heat-resistant cultivars. Replacement of heat-sensitive cultivars with heat-tolerant ones, adjustment of sowing time, choice of varieties with a growth duration allowing avoidance of peak stress periods, and exogenous application of plant hormones are some of the adaptive measures that will help in the mitigation of forecast yield reduction due to global warming.
Accurate field data on the paddock area affected by cow urine depositions are critical to the estimation and modelling of nitrogen (N) losses and N management in grazed pasture systems. A new technique using survey-grade global positioning system (GPS) technology was developed to precisely measure the paddock spatial area coverage, diversity and distribution of dairy cattle urine patches in grazed paddocks over time. A 4-year study was conducted on the Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF), Canterbury, New Zealand, from 2003 to 2007. Twelve field plots, each 100m(2) in area, were established on typical grazing areas of the farm. All urine and dung deposits within the plots were visually identified, the pasture response area (radius) measured and position marked with survey-grade GPS. The plots were grazed as part of the normal grazing rotation of the farm and urine and dung deposits measured at 12-week intervals. The data were collated using spatial (GIS) software and an assessment of annual urine patch coverage and spatial distribution was made. Grazing intensities ranged from 17645 to 30295 cow grazing h/ha/yr. Mean annual areas of urine patches ranged from 0.34 to 0.40 m(2) (4-year mean 0.37 +/- 0.009m(2)), with small but significant variation between years and seasons. Mean annual urine patch numbers were 6240 +/- 124 patches/ha/yr. The mean proportional area coverage for a single sampling event or season was 0.058 and the mean proportional annual urine patch coverage was 0.232 +/- 0.0071. There was a strong linear relationship between annual cow grazing h/ha and urine patch numbers/ha (R-2=0.69) and also annual urine patch area coverage (R-2=0.77). Within the stocking densities observed in this study, an annual increase of 10 000 cow grazing h/ha increased urine patch numbers by 1800 urine patches/ha/yr and annual urine patch area coverage by 0.07. This study presents new quantitative data on urine patch size, numbers and the spatial coverage of patches on a temporal basis.
EU milk quota deregulation has forced many farmers to reconsider the factors that will limit milk production into the future. Factors other than milk quota such as land, labour, capital, stock, etc. will become the limiting factor for many in a post-EU milk quota scenario. While it can be postulated what the limits to production will be in a post-quota scenario, how farmers react will determine the future direction of the industry. In order to determine the future attitudes and intentions and to identify the key factors influencing farmers who intend to expand, exit, remain static or contract their businesses in the future, a survey of a large group of Irish commercial dairy farmers was carried out. The telephone survey sample was chosen randomly, based on a proportional representation of suppliers to the largest milk processor in Ireland. The sample (780 suppliers) was broken down by quota size (five quota categories, Q1-Q5), supplier region and system of production. The sample was analysed to determine the effect of key survey variables on the future intentions of dairy farmers. The survey was completed by 659 suppliers (0.82 of the sample). The proportions of farmers intending to expand were 0.28, 0.47, 0.61, 0.61 and 0.56, respectively, for Q1-Q5, while the proportions intending to exit were 0.27, 0.18, 0.08, 0.09 and 0.08, respectively. Farmers who were intent on expanding had larger total farm areas, larger milk tank capacity per litre of milk quota, more modern milking facilities, more available cow housing and more housing that could be converted at a relatively low cost and were more likely to have a successor. Of those expanding, 0.60 wanted milk quotas abolished, while 0.36 of those planning to exit wanted milk quotas abolished. The level of expansion was affected by business scale, dairy stocking rate, the additional labour required with expansion and total and milking platform farm size.
In the current Dutch protein evaluation system (the DVE/OEB1991 system), two characteristics are calculated for each feed: true protein digested in the intestine (DVE) and the rumen degradable protein balance (OEB). Of these, DVE represents the protein value of a feed, while OEB is the difference between the potential microbial protein synthesis (MPS) on the basis of available rumen degradable protein and that on the basis of available rumen degradable energy. DVE can be separated into three components: (i) feed crude protein undegraded in the rumen but digested in the small intestine, (ii) microbial true protein synthesized in the rumen and digested in the small intestine, and (iii) endogenous protein lost in the digestive processes. Based on new research findings, the DVE/OEB1991 system has recently been updated to the DVE/OEB2010 system. More detail and differentiation is included concerning the representation of chemical components in feed, the rumen degradation characteristics of these components, the efficiency of MPS and the fractional passage rates. For each chemical component, the soluble, washout, potentially degradable and truly non-degradable fractions are defined with separate fractional degradation rates. Similarly, fractional passage rates for each of these fractions were identified and partly expressed as a function of fractional degradation rate. Efficiency of MPS is related to the various fractions of the chemical components and their associated fractional passage rates. Only minor changes were made with respect to the amount of DVE required for maintenance and production purposes of the animal. Differences from other current protein evaluation systems, viz. the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein system and the Feed into Milk system, are discussed.
The present paper presents a meta-analysis of the economic and agronomic performance of genetically modified (GM) crops worldwide. Bayesian, classical and non-parametric approaches were used to evaluate the performance of GM crops v. their conventional counterparts. The two main GM crop traits (herbicide tolerant (HT) and insect resistant (Bt)) and three of the main GM crops produced worldwide (Bt cotton, HT soybean and Bt maize) were analysed in terms of yield, production cost and gross margin. The scope of the analysis covers developing and developed countries, six world regions, and all countries combined. Results from the statistical analyses indicate that GM crops perform better than their conventional counterparts in agronomic and economic (gross margin) terms. Regarding countries' level of development, GM crops tend to perform better in developing countries than in developed countries, with Bt cotton being the most profitable crop grown.
Global climate change is predicted to shift seasonal temperature and precipitation patterns. An increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as heat waves and prolonged droughts is predicted, but there are high levels of uncertainty about the nature of local changes. Crop adaptation will be important in reducing potential damage to agriculture. Crop diversity may enhance resilience to climate variability and changes that are difficult to predict. Therefore, there has to be sufficient diversity within the set of available cultivars in response to weather parameters critical for yield formation. To determine the scale of such 'weather response diversity' within barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), an important crop in northern conditions, the yield responses of a wide range of modern and historical varieties were analysed according to a well-defined set of critical agro-meteorological variables. The Finnish long-term dataset of MTT Official Variety Trials was used together with historical weather records of the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The foci of the analysis were firstly to describe the general response of barley to different weather conditions and secondly to reveal the diversity among varieties in the sensitivity to each weather variable. It was established that barley yields were frequently reduced by drought or excessive rain early in the season, by high temperatures at around heading, and by accelerated temperature sum accumulation rates during periods 2 weeks before heading and between heading and yellow ripeness. Low temperatures early in the season increased yields, but frost during the first 4 weeks after sowing had no effect. After canopy establishment, higher precipitation on average resulted in higher yields. In a cultivar-specific analysis, it was found that there were differences in responses to all but three of the studied climatic variables: waterlogging and drought early in the season and temperature sum accumulation rate before heading. The results suggest that low temperatures early in the season, delayed sowing, rain 3-7 weeks after sowing, a temperature change 3-4 weeks after sowing, a high temperature sum accumulation rate from heading to yellow ripeness and high temperatures (>= 25 degrees C) at around heading could mostly be addressed by exploiting the traits found in the range of varieties included in the present study. However, new technology and novel genetic material are needed to enable crops to withstand periods of excessive rain or drought early in the season and to enhance performance under increased temperature sum accumulation rates prior to heading.
Data on grain yield from field trials on winter wheat under conventional farming, harvested between 1992 and 2008, were combined with daily weather data available for 44 grids covering Denmark. Nine agroclimatic indices were calculated and used for describing the relation between weather data and grain yield. These indices were calculated as average temperature, radiation and precipitation during winter (1 October-31 March), spring (1 April-15 June) and summer (16 June-31 July), and they were included as linear and quadratic covariates in a mixed regression model. The model also included an effect of year to describe the change in yield caused by unrecorded variables such as management changes. The final model included all effects that were significant for at least one of the two soil types (sandy and loamy soils). Seven of the nine agroclimatic indices were included in the final model that was used to predict the wheat grain yield under five climate scenarios (a baseline for 1985 and two climate change projections for 2020 and 2040) for two soil types and two locations in Denmark. The agroclimatic index for summer temperature showed the strongest effect causing lower yields with increasing temperature, whereas yield increased with increasing radiation during summer and spring. Winter precipitation and spring temperature did not affect grain yield significantly. Grain yield responded non-linearly to mean winter temperature with the highest yield at 4.4 degrees C and lower yields both below and above this inflection point. The application of the model predicted that the average yield would decrease under projected climate change. The average decrease varied between 0.1 and 0.8 t/ha (comparable to a relative reduction of 1.6-12.3%) depending on the climate projection, location and soil type. On average, the grain yield decreased by about 0.25 t/ha (c. 3.6%) from 1985 to 2020 and by about 0.55 t/ha (c. 8.0%) from 1985 to 2040. The predicted yield decrease depended on climate projection and was larger for wheat grown in West Zealand than in Central Jutland and in most cases also larger for loamy soils than for sandy soils. The inter-annual variation in grain yield varied greatly between climate projections. The coefficient of variation (CV) varied between 0.16 and 0.46 and was smallest for wheat grown on loamy soils in Central Jutland in the baseline climate and largest for winter wheat grown under one of the 2040 climate projections. The increase in CV is not so much an effect of increased climatic variability under the climate change projections, but more an effect of increased winter temperature, where more extreme winter temperatures (lower or higher than the inflection point at 4.4 degrees C) increased the effect of winter temperatures.
Global warming has accelerated in recent decades and the years 1995-2006 were the warmest ever recorded. Also, in Finland, the last decade has been exceptionally warm. Hence, this study examines how current field crop cultivars, adapted to northern long-day conditions and short growing seasons, have responded to the elevated temperatures, especially with regard to determination of yield potential and quality. These comparisons were carried out with spring and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), oats (Avena sativa L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), winter rye (Secale cereale L.), pea (Pisum sativum L.) and rapeseed (turnip rape, Brassica rapa L. and oilseed rape, B. napus L.). Long-term data sets of MTT Official Variety Trials and the Finnish Meteorological Institute were used to study crop responses to precipitation and elevated temperatures at different growth phases. The MTT data sets were also grouped into experiments that could be considered typical of the temperature conditions in the period 1971-2000 seasons (termed '1985' conditions) or typical of the period 2010-39 (termed '2025'). At elevated temperatures, yields generally declined in these relatively cool growing conditions of northern Europe, except for pea. Elevated temperatures tended to have negative effects both in the pre- and post-anthesis phases, but the response depended on species. The response was probably associated with reduced water availability, which limited yield determination, especially in early growth phases. For example, in spring cereals a decrease in early summer precipitation by 10 mm decreased yields by 45-75 kg/ha. As warmer conditions also typically hastened development and growth in such generally cool growing conditions of Finland, it is essential that breeding programmes produce cultivars that are less sensitive to elevated temperatures, which are likely to become more frequent in future.
The current paper briefly summarizes the available evidence regarding the potential of urban agriculture to respond to a number of key urban challenges and reviews the perspectives on urban agriculture applied by local and national authorities. The last section of the paper briefly presents the authors' views on the development of urban agriculture as an integral part of sustainable city development.
Globally, agriculture accounts for 0.80-0.90 of all freshwater used by humans and, in many crop production systems, this water use is unsustainable. The current paper focuses on the potential exploitation of novel drought stress biology in both crop improvement programmes and via changed crop management practices. The aim is to deliver 'more crop per drop'. In order to respond to the challenge of feeding a world population of seven billion and growing, it is concluded that an interdisciplinary approach is needed involving new genetic opportunities and plant breeding. It is also shown how crop management can exploit the drought stress physiology of plants to deliver improved water productivity without sacrificing crop yield.
Global changes including increases in temperature, atmospheric greenhouse gases, soil degradation and competition for land and water resources, will have multiple impacts on rice production systems in Africa. These changes will affect weed communities, and management approaches must be adapted to take this into account. Higher temperatures and limited water availability will generally advantage C4 over C3 plants (e.g. rice). Conversely, elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels will improve the competitiveness of rice relative to C4 weeds, which comprise many of the problem weeds of rice. Increased atmospheric CO2 levels may also improve tolerance of rice against parasitic weeds, while prevalence of parasitic species may be amplified by soil degradation and more frequent droughts or floods. Elevated CO2 levels tend to promote growth below-ground relative to above-ground, particularly in perennial (C3) species. This may render mechanical control of weeds within a cropping season less effective or even counterproductive. Increased CO2 levels, rainfall and temperature may also reduce the effectiveness of chemical control, while the implementation of adaptation technologies, such as water-saving irrigation regimes, will have negative consequences for rice–weed competition. Rain-fed production systems are prevalent throughout Africa and these are likely to be most vulnerable to direct effects of climate change (e.g. higher temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns). Effective weed management strategies in these environments could encompass off-season tillage, the use of well-adapted cultivars (i.e. those with drought and heat tolerance, high weed competitiveness and parasitic weed resistance or tolerance) and rotations, intercropping or short, off-season fallows with weed-suppressive legumes including those that suppress parasitic weeds. In irrigated, non-flooded rice systems, weeds are expected to become more serious. Specifically, perennial rhizomatous C3 weeds and species adapted to hydromorphic conditions are expected to increase in prevalence. By implementing an integrated weed management strategy primarily targeted at weed prevention, dependency on flood water, herbicides and mechanical control can be lessened. Off-season deep tillage, stale seed bed techniques, use of clean seeds and irrigation water, competitive cultivars, timely transplanting at optimum spacing and judicious fertilizer timings are suitable candidate components for such a strategy. Integrated, novel approaches must be developed to assist farmers in coping with the challenges of weed control in the future
The effect of high temperatures (above 25 degrees C) on starch concentration and the morphology of starch granules in the grains of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were studied. Wheat plants of cultivars Yangmai 9 (weak-gluten) and Yangmai 12 (medium-gluten) were treated with high temperatures for 3 days at different times after anthesis. The results showed that the starch concentration of grains given a heat-shock treatment above 30 degrees C were lower than those developing at normal temperature in both cultivars. High temperature lowered starch concentration due to the decrease of amylopectin. Under the same temperature, the effect of heat shock from 6 to 8 days after anthesis (DAA) was the greatest, whereas from 36 to 38 DAA the effect was the least. The effects of high temperatures after anthesis on starch-pasting properties were similar to those on starch concentration, especially after 35-40 degrees C treatments. The size, shape and structure of starch granules in wheat grains (determined by electron microscopy) after heat shock were visibly different from the control. When given heat shock during development, the starch granules in mature wheat grains were ellipsoid in shape and bound loosely with a protein sheath in Yangmai 9, while they were damaged and compressed with fissures in Yangmai 12, indicating the differences in resistance to high temperature between cultivars. Ratios of large (type-A) and small (type-B) starch granules significantly decreased under heat shock, which limited the potential sink size for dry matter deposition in the grain.
The present study is focused on the potential occurrence of the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata, Say 1824), an important potato pest, and the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis, Hubner 1796), the most important maize pest, during climate change. Estimates of the current potential distribution of both pest species as well as their distribution in the expected climate conditions are based on the CLIMEX model. The study covers central Europe, including Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and parts of Germany, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Slovenia, the northern parts of Serbia, parts of Croatia and northern Italy. The validated model of the pests' geographical distribution was applied within the domain of the regional climate model (RCM) ALADIN, at a resolution of 10 km. The weather series that was the input for the CLIMEX model was prepared by a weather generator (WG) which was calibrated with the RCM-simulated weather series (for the period of 1961-90). To generate a weather series for two future time periods (2021-50 and 2071-2100), the WG parameters were modified according to 12 climate change scenarios produced by the pattern scaling method. The standardized scenarios derived from three global climate models (HadCM, NCAR-PCM and ECHAM) were scaled by low, middle and high values of global temperature change estimated by the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change (MAGICC) model (assuming three combinations of climatic sensitivity and emission scenarios). The results of present study suggest the likely widening of the pests' habitats and an increase in the number of generations per year. According to the HadCM-high scenario, the area of arable land affected by a third generation per season of Colorado potato beetle in 2050 is c. 45% higher, and by a second generation of the European corn borer is nearly 61% higher, compared to present levels.
Pests and diseases impact on crop yield and quality, and also reduce resource-use efficiency. Improved crop protection strategies to prevent such damage and loss can increase production and make a substantial contribution to food security. DNA-based technologies are likely to greatly increase the speed, sensitivity and accuracy of pest and pathogen detection and diagnosis. Rapid sequencing of nucleic acids from infected plants will aid identification of novel disease agents. Biomarkers of disease or crop damage such as volatile chemicals or blends may also be used to detect pest outbreaks. Biosensors coupled to information networks will provide real-time monitoring and surveillance of crops or stored produce and hence early warning of emerging problems and new invasive species. Challenges remain in the dissemination of new technologies and information to resource poor farmers in developing countries, although the rapid extension of the internet, mobile phones and other communication networks will provide new opportunities. Defining the genetic and molecular basis of innate plant immunity has been a major advance in plant biology with the potential to identify new targets for intervention via novel chemistry or genetic modification (GM). Identification of regulatory genes, signal molecules, pathways and networks controlling induced plant defence should lead to the development of a new generation of defence modulators, delivered either as crop protection products, or via biological agents on seeds or in the root zone. There should also be opportunities to select more responsive crop genotypes, or to develop transgenic crops tailored to respond to specific chemical cues or molecular patterns diagnostic for particular biotic threats. Sequencing of the genomes of the major crop species and their wild relatives will expand enormously the known gene pool and diversity of genetic resources available for plant breeders to access. It should be possible to identify genomic regions and genes conferring more durable, quantitative resistance to pathogens. The breeding cycle will be accelerated by high-throughput phenotyping and more efficient selection of resistance traits using within-gene markers. GM approaches will facilitate pyramiding (combining) resistance genes with different specificities and modes of action, thereby reducing the risk of directional selection for virulence. Analysis of the genomes of plant pathogens and invertebrate pests is already providing new information on genes, gene families and processes involved in host colonization and pathogenicity. Comparative genomics of species with diverse host ranges, contrasting feeding habits and different pathogenic lifestyles will identify new targets for inhibiting pest attack and aid the development of novel antimicrobial drugs and pesticides. Understanding the natural ecology of pests and pathogens, such as the factors determining host location, resource exploitation and interactions with other organisms, will improve our ability to manipulate behaviour, or exploit natural enemies or other antagonists of pest species. Volatile signals, either from natural plant sources, or engineered in transgenic crops, will be more widely used to modify pest behaviour. It may also be possible to manipulate microbial communities regulating pathogen populations and activity, and thereby recruit and retain more effective biocontrol agents. Insights into the natural diversity and activity of soil and microbial populations in the zones surrounding roots and seeds will provide new information on mechanism of suppression regulating pest species. Fully effective interventions are unlikely, due to the complexity and diversity of the soil system, but there should be progress towards integrated control regimes combining more resistant crop genotypes (either selected or GM) with targeted management of natural suppressive processes. Harnessing new technologies and knowledge to create more durable resistant crops and sustainable disease and pest management systems will require improved understanding of the factors driving pest and pathogen adaptation and evolution. There must also be an increased emphasis on translational research and delivery, and developing strategies appropriate for lower-input production systems, if the second 'green revolution' is to become a reality.
Plant-specific transcription factors belonging to the dehydration response element binding (DREB)/C-repeat binding factor (CBF) subfamily of the AP2/EREBP family specifically interact with dehydration-responsive elements (DRE)/C-repeat (CRT) and control the expression of many stress-inducible genes in plants. Two major subgroups of DREB proteins are represented by DREB1 and DREB2, which are induced specifically under cold and drought/salt stress, respectively. A DREB2 transcription factor gene from sorghum, SbDREB2 was identified and cloned in binary vectors, such that it was driven either by a constitutive CaMV35S promoter or a stress-inducible rd29A promoter. These gene constructs were transferred into rice through Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Expression patterns of the native DREB gene (OsDREB2) and the transgene (SbDREB2) were similar. Both genes showed induction at 1 h exposure to drought, after which expression gradually dropped to basal levels by 24 h. Constitutive expression of SbDREB2 led to pleiotropic effects in rice and these transgenics did not set seed. The rd29A: SbDREB2 rice plants set seed and the grains collected from primary transformants were sown to raise T1 plants. The drought-stressed rd29A: SbDREB2 transgenics showed a significantly higher number of panicles as compared to the wild-type rice plants. Other phenological and agronomic traits were not affected in wild-type and rd29A: SbDREB2 transgenic rice.
In recent years, simulation models have been used as a complementary tool for research and for quantifying soil carbon sequestration under widely varying conditions. This has improved the understanding and prediction of soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics and crop yield responses to soil and climate conditions and crop management scenarios. The goal of the present study was to estimate the changes in SOC for different cropping systems in West Africa using a simulation model. A crop rotation experiment conducted in Farako-Ba, Burkina Faso was used to evaluate the performance of the cropping system model (CSM) of the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) for simulating yield of different crops. Eight crop rotations that included cotton, sorghum, peanut, maize and fallow, and three different management scenarios, one without N (control), one with chemical fertilizer (N) and one with manure applications, were studied. The CSM was able to simulate the yield trends of various crops, with inconsistencies for a few years. The simulated SOC increased slightly across the years for the sorghum-fallow rotation with manure application. However, SOC decreased for all other rotations except for the continuous fallow (native grassland), in which the SOC remained stable. The model simulated SOC for the continuous fallow system with a high degree of accuracy normalized root mean square error (RMSE) = 0.001, while for the other crop rotations the simulated SOC values were generally within the standard deviation (S.D.) range of the observed data. The crop rotations that included a supplemental N-fertilizer or manure application showed an increase in the average simulated aboveground biomass for all crops. The incorporation of this biomass into the soil after harvest reduced the loss of SOC. In the present study, the observed SOC data were used for characterization of production systems with different SOC dynamics. Following careful evaluation of the CSM with observed soil organic matter (SOM) data similar to the study presented here, there are many opportunities for the application of the CSM for carbon sequestration and resource management in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The challenge for the next 50 years is to increase the productivity of major livestock species to address the food needs of the world, while at the same time minimizing the environmental impact. The present review presents an optimistic view of this challenge. The completion of genome sequences, and high-density analytical tools to map genetic markers, allows for whole-genome selection programmes based on linkage disequilibrium for a wide spectrum of traits, simultaneously. In turn, it will be possible to redefine genetic prediction based on allele sharing, rather than pedigree relationships and to make breeding value predictions early in the life of the peak sire. Selection will be applied to a much wider range of traits, including those that are directed towards environmental or adaptive outcomes. In parallel, reproductive technologies will continue to advance to allow acceleration of genetic selection, probably including recombination in vitro. Transgenesis and/or mutagenesis will be applied to introduce new genetic variation or desired phenotypes. Traditional livestock systems will continue to evolve towards more intensive integrated farming modes that control inputs and outputs to minimize the impact and improve efficiency. The challenges of the next 50 years can certainly be met, but only if governments reverse the long-term disinvestment in agricultural research.