|Environmental Handbook Volume II: Agriculture, Mining/Energy, Trade/Industry (GTZ, 1995, 736 p.)|
|30. Livestock farming|
The environmental impacts of livestock farming are determined by the intensity of the production operations.
The following critical influencing factors are to be found in all farming systems and forms of animal husbandry:
- land clearance for the purpose of pasture improvement
or to permit forage growing
- stocking rate, which is influenced by the number of animals, the herd composition in terms of species and classes of animals, and the availability of fodder
- availability of water as a function of the number of watering places per unit of area, the distribution of watering places in the region and the design of the watering places.
However, the extent of the environmental hazards created by these critical influencing factors depends on the farming system in question. Stocking rate, for example, becomes less important in intensive livestock farming systems; at the same time, an increasingly significant role is played by critical factors in fodder growing such as type of fodder, form of use and fertiliser application, as well as by dung removal and possibly also residues in feedstuffs and animal products (which may also be the result of veterinary measures).
The greatest environmental hazards are caused by industrial-scale animal production. Apart from the considerable risk of water and air pollution through noxious gases and disposal of dung and liquid manure, its energy and water requirements can also be seen as having adverse impacts on the environment.