Study Warns of Climate Variability Impacts on Great Plains Beef Production

Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists and collaborators explored the rural economic impacts of climate variability and identified potential future outcomes for beef cattle production in a research article, “Future climate variability will challenge rangeland beef cattle production in the Great Plains,” recently published in the journal Rangelands. Lead author David Briske, Ph.D. noted that cattle operations, which rely on grassland forage for much of their animals’ dietary intake, could be especially vulnerable to increased precipitation variability. The research indicates that beef producers will experience a greater number of years where annual forage production may vary by 50%. This increases the already difficult task of balancing forage production with cattle demand. Briske said this increasing weather variability could present sustainability problems for beef cattle operations and regions that have been successful historically.