976001 Grassland, livestock and climate change – challenges for ruminants in a global perspective

Lecture and seminar
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Gierus, Martin
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


1) Overview of production system types and production sites in the current semester – this includes variation according to regional economic, geographical and sociological contexts, for which solutions are different, identify stakeholders of the sector in different regions (content is provided by guest lectures, who changes by country/region every semester);
2) Nutrition & production phases in cattle raised for meat production;
3) Feed resource allocation: forage, concentrate, byproducts and feeding strategies in different regions (pasture management, forage conservation);
4) Product quality measurements (meat quality);
5) Existing programs for farmers, meat producers and retailers: slow food, sustainable intensification, regional or global markets, green deal, etc.
6) Environmental challenges of feeding beef cattle (Biodiversity crisis, GHG emissions, eutrophication, production costs, etc.) and how to quantify them, e.g. economic value of nature;
7) Ecosystem services provided by (beef) cattle production systems – which are these, and how farmers can benefit from those services?
8) Experimental design and analytical methodology for typical research involving feeding of (beef) cattle;

Previous knowledge expected

Not required, but would be helpful to have some basic knowledge about either Livestock Production, Grassland Science, Feed Science, or Environmental Science

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

The students learn the production system types and production sites of contrasting environments in a global context, working out the production system in a certain country/region. The students can:
- identify important aspects of nutrition and production phases of beef cattle in specific regions/countries;
- describe important production parameters: weaning, puberty, age at first calving, nutrition and fertility, lactation for contrasting production systems on a global basis;
- evaluate feeding systems and the nutritional basis of feeding systems of large herbivores (mainly cattle);
- present arguments about the impact of climate change on global (beef) cattle production;
- generate suggestions how to reduce the impact of (beef) cattle production on climate change;
- differentiate major challenges in the production region/country;

Beyond these aspects, students can contribute to answer the questions:
- Can the environment sustain the increasing world consumption of beef?
- Is a carbon neutral (beef) cattle production possible? If yes, how to handle?
- How is (beef) cattle production involved in circular economy/bioeconomy targets?
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.