by Sarah Wiener, with text and video credits to Caribbean Climate Sub-Hub
The Caribbean Climate Sub-Hub (CCSH) recently released the first of four videos, this one covering cattle and dairy farming in the Tropics. The video focuses on adaptation practices for tropical dairy producers. Drought and heat have hit Caribbean producers hard and have had particularly damaging effects on the livestock and dairy industries. As grasses died over the summer due to lack of rain, producers in the US Virgin Islands were forced to take measures ranging from collecting tree limbs and branches for fodder to relying on imported feed and even culling herds. Pastures were so barren that many will have to be re-sown completely at great cost to farmers.
In Puerto Rico, producers saw their costs rise as they relied ever more heavily on imported feed. Many also saw their production decline as heat stress and lack of nutrients took their tolls on local herds. Unfortunately, climate models are predicting more of these boom-bust rainfall cycles, in which prolonged periods of drought are periodically interrupted by intense rainfall events, with more extreme droughts expected. However, there are measures that farmers can take to reduce the impacts of drought and increased temperatures! Watch as Dr. Guillermo Ortiz of the University of Puerto Rico and rancher Neftali Lluch from Puerto Rico’s Lajas Valley discuss various practical steps to combat rising temperatures and prolonged drought.