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Livestock advisors’ perception of silvopastoral systems benefits in south Brazil
* 1 , 1 , 1 , 2 , 3
1  Programa de Pós-Graduação em Zootecnia (PPGZ), Universidade Federal do Paraná
2  Estação de Pesquisa Agroecológica CPRA, Instituto de Desenvolvimento Rural do Paraná
3  Laboratório de Etologia Aplicada e Bem-Estar Animal (LETA), Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
Academic Editor: Andrea Pezzuolo (registering DOI)

Livestock advisors are responsible for disseminating knowledge and the concept of the silvopastoral system (SPS) to farmers and thus have an important role in the improvement of livestock sustainability through the mitigation of its impact on climate change. In this study we describe livestock advisors’ perception regarding the benefits and barriers of the silvopastoral system to the animals and the pasture. Advisors from southern Brazil (n=228) participated in an online survey. Participants were more likely to be older (40%, > 51 years old), male (84%), agronomist (47%), and 41% had more than 16 years of experience in livestock. Almost all the participants (99%) said that the silvopastoral system brought benefits to animal welfare. The main benefit reported was heat abatement (80%), and the majority (70%) associated that heat stress is related to a decrease in milk production. Meanwhile, 62% believed that the presence of trees brings benefits to the pasture. The main benefit reported for pasture was the improvement of microclimate (40%), associated with decreased wind speed (23%) and increased soil humidity (45%). Although 53% did not consider the SPS as beneficial to animals at low temperatures, for 80% the pasture benefits due to the SPS protection from frost (15%). For 60% of the participants the farmers are a barrier for the dissemination SPS and for 20% issues related to system management limited the adoption; further, the lack of trained professionals (14%) and insufficient dissemination of information (13%) were cited as factors that can decrease the adoption of the silvopastoral system. Our findings indicate that livestock advisors recognize the silvopastoral system benefits, but this differs between benefits to animal and to pasture; the barriers of SPS dissemination may be minimized by encouraging the training of advisors.

Keywords: heat stress; survey; thermal environment; viewpoint; wood pasture