Using System Dynamics modelling approach to develop management tools for animal production with emphasis on small ruminants Academic Article uri icon


  • Small ruminants are important assets in several regions of the world. They account for more than half of the domesticated ruminants. Despite the growth in goat production in the world (more than 2% per year), research related to goat production is less than desired. One underused but potentially valuable approach for research on small ruminants is simulation modelling. Models of the components of small ruminant systems can enhance the financial returns and reduce negative environmental impacts. These models can be used to assess many dimensions of small ruminant production, from rumen dynamics to economic policies designed to support small ruminant production. Understanding the nutrition, production, and economic policy feedback signals and planning ahead is crucial to build a robust and integrated production activity that can be managed under different production scenarios. System Dynamics (SD) is a computer-aided modelling methodology that can be used to perform policy analysis and decision support system (DSS) applied to dynamic problems arising in complex social, managerial, economic, or ecological dynamic systems characterized by interdependence, mutual interaction, information feedback, and circular causality. SD can be used as a modelling tool to aggregate knowledge to solve different types of problems that have a limited scope to a specific location or have broad trends of applications across locations and areas of science. Important issues of broad application include the bearings of animal production in the climate change and the impacts of climate change in animal production, alternative production scenarios of animal and crop integration, associations between animal production and business (economics, marketing). The trend of increasing small ruminants in tropical and subtropical regions and an increasing pressure on tropical and subtropical livestock systems to produce food, to feed livestock, and to produce energy crops warrants the development of DSS to address issues such as what is the "real" benefits of livestock, the negative impacts livestock can have on greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment, and the effects of climate change on livestock systems. 2011 Elsevier B.V.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Tedeschi, L. O., Nicholson, C. F., & Rich, E.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Tedeschi, LO||Nicholson, CF||Rich, E

publication date

  • June 2011