This text is a reference for people interested in concepts and methodologies for holistic approaches to research and development in livestock farming systems. It is the result of an international symposium involving researchers in animal production which explored the key contemporary issues facing this field which concerns a growing number of scientists in Europe and beyond. The research papers present the theoretical and methodological background, reflecting the current interest in systemic modelling of livestock farming activities at different scales. The 12 refereed main papers are supported by 60 shorter papers, also refereed, illustrating a great diversity of current research work throughout Europe and in developing countries. Three main topics are investigated: general concepts and approaches for evaluating farmers practices and livestock farms functioning including, for example, epidemiology and herd health management; livestock farming systems studies, focusing on current issues such as economic and social change, and environment and the landscape; methods and tools for evaluating livestock farming systems. For animal production professionals, this book draws on work from over 20 countries setting out the state of the art, from its conceptual bases through systems modelling, to practial tools.
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