The burning Mediterranean (or, your country here)
The news here in the UK is filled with the fires on Rhodes (and now Corfu), and its implications for the tourist trade, which finances a lot of the Greek islands and southern countries. It also points in graphic detail to the eternal global warming issue that we are grappling with, and are leaving to future generations.
Meanwhile, here in the UK, it is raining, kind of autumnal, and flooding in places. Having had record 40 degrees Celsius temperatures here last year, I personally am happy to not repeat this, and am also pleased I’m not further south in Europe.
I am sure the dairy cows that supply our industry are also happy that Ireland and the UK are not seeing the higher temperatures. Like humans, cows don’t really appreciate extreme heat, and the fact that we are missing out this year must be appreciated by bovines and humans alike.
But wherever you live, the weather is the thing. People talk about it. Farmers live by it. Weather drives a lot of human behaviour for good or ill. Droughts and floods cause human and livestock movement. Heat stress affects milk yield, and we know that as the temperature gets hotter, cows will produce less milk unless steps are taken to mitigate the heat. Like humans, they get cranky with very hot weather.
It is a complex issue. It is also means that the industry initiatives such as Dairy UK‘s Dairy Roadmap and The International Farming Community Network’s Supporter Conference in September, being held online and in-person, are trying to help to address these problems of a heating world. Similarly, the Global Dairy Platform’s Dairy Sustainability Framework, also aims to help dairies and their supporters get the best out of dairy for the growing population, via its Pathways to Net Zero Initiative. We are in this together and it is a lot of work.
- Suzanne Christiansen, editor, Dairy Industries International.
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