Pasture

Pasturelands cover 121.1 million acres (6% of the U.S. surface area), predominantly in the eastern half of the U.S.  While mostly used for livestock grazing and hay production, pastures also offer other ecosystem services, enhance environmental quality and provide scenic landscapes. Currently, most pastures are minimally managed and could benefit from improvements in stocking rates, grazing methods, seasonal use and fertilization. Optimizing pasture health and productivity today will build resilience to a changing climate. Factors affecting pasturelands under a changing climate include higher temperatures, changes in precipitation regimes, changes in the frequency and magnitude of extreme temperature and precipitation events, and greater exposure to weeds, pests and pathogens. Combined with rising temperatures and nitrogen deposition, elevated atmospheric CO2 may positively impact pasture productivity. However, rising temperatures may drive increased demand for irrigation in drier regions. 

Ongoing changes in climate have substantial impacts on the $76 billion agricultural sector in the Midwest. Assisting producers with adaptation practices that can improve their water availability and maintain soil productivity, will also reduce the variation in crop production...

Agricultural Adaptation in a Changing Climate

The impacts of climate change on grazing lands and the livestock operations that depend on them will vary by region, type of grazing land, vegetation community, and the type of livestock. These impacts are superimposed upon other factors such as land ownership, historical and...

Grazing lands in a changing climate

Regional Assessments Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska 2014 Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska documents many of the key challenges that Nebraska will face as a result of climate change. Commentaries from...

Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska 2014

Cows on pasture at Shelburne Farms in Vermont

The climate in the Northeast U.S. has been changing. Winters have been getting warmer and heavy rainstorms are becoming much more common.  Many longtime farmers feel that the seasons have shifted, and the latest climate models indicate that these changes are likely to continue....

Agricultural Vulnerabilities in the Northeast

cattle-pasture

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...

Focus on Livestock in the Southeast

Subscribe to Pasture