Resilience of the dairy cattle behaviour system to climate changes disturbances. (#858)
The dairy cattle behaviour system is adapted to a wide range of disturbances due to changes in external and internal factors, both natural and anthropogenic. Extreme weather events due to global climate change are drastically affecting animal welfare and their production performances. The System Dynamics is used to assist in understanding the resilience dynamics of the behaviour system to climate disturbances.
Resilience is a measure of the persistence of the system and its capability to absorb impacts, keeping on equal terms the relationships among its components.
The conceptual model, represented in the causal loop diagram, shows that the hierarchical articulation of three levels of animal behavioural responses is supported by capital stocks (physical, natural, financial, human and social). The first-order responses are analogous to homeostatic processes. The second-order represent innovative situations in animal behaviour and environmental enrichment. The third-order responses are the capability to capture and learn from these experiences, which, paradoxically, perhaps dependent on their relative frequency in trying them. This justifies “in silico” experiments that simulate the climate disturbances.
Resilience model is managed by negative feedback loops (three levels of responses) that restore the reference standard of animal welfare dynamics and their production levels after suffering a weather disturbance. This conceptual model was the basis for building a computational model to simulate the resilience dynamics. The computational model was validated for the circadian rhythm of thermoregulation with emphasis on seeking by air flow in free stall, simulating different temperature and humidity index.
The results show that capital stocks used for environmental enrichment to increase the resilience of animal behaviour system to disturbances caused by temperature and precipitation extreme events.
We concluded that the interrelationships among the three levels of responses are keys to the resilience of the behaviour system.