Dr. Sarmin, a veterinarian and lecturer at the UGM Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, was honored with a professor title on Thursday (November 9) at the UGM Senate Hall.
During the inauguration ceremony, Professor Sarmin delivered a speech entitled “The Role of Animal Physiology in Mitigating Environmental Stress as an Effort to Maintain Sustainability and Livestock Production.”
The professor highlighted climate change, which has affected livestock production, especially small ruminants.
Adaptation to environmental changes has led to a decrease in the quality and quantity of livestock and changes in the types of livestock feed due to the emergence of nutritional stress.
Nutritional stress may affect livestock growth, metabolism, production, reproductive performance, milk quality and quantity, and natural immunity, making them prone to diseases and even death.
He explained that animal physiology studies the functional structure and mechanisms of animal interaction with environmental stress in morphological, behavioral, physiological, hematological, blood-chemical, and metabolic responses in coping with environmental changes.
Therefore, studying the characterization of adaptive profiles in livestock facing environmental changes, especially heat and nutritional stress, is essential to determine production management strategies and livestock conservation.
“The role of animal physiology is important in preserving and improving livestock productivity per animal welfare principles,” he said.
“The right adaptation and mitigation strategies based on the latest animal physiology research have the potential to provide solutions to maintain the production of small ruminants against climate change and accompanying stress.”
He mentioned that biological marker data on the adaptation pattern of animals to each stress helps determine the selection and production of native Indonesian livestock breeds and the development of breeds that are adaptive to stress intensity according to Indonesia’s natural and climatic conditions.
His research shows sheep and goats are generally more adaptive to heat stress than other ruminants because they have higher water conservation abilities, sweat, and can regulate breathing and reduce basal heat production.
However, compared to sheep, goats are considered more tolerant to heat stress because they have a higher sweating ability and a low ratio of body weight to surface area, allowing for greater heat dissipation.
“Small ruminants show various adaptive responses to cope with the impact of heat stress in tropical regions,” he clarified.
Various adaptive responses of small ruminants to heat stress can be marked by decreased appetite and the frequency and duration of chewing cud.
These morphological characteristics of livestock are crucial for adaptation because they directly affect the heat exchange mechanisms between livestock and their surrounding environment.
Small ruminants like goats were the first domesticated animals by humans over 10,000 years ago and are considered the ideal livestock for dealing with various environmental stresses. Goats are also resistant to high temperatures and drought.
These advantages of goats are estimated to make them an economically and adaptively food security source in the face of climate change.
According to the FAO’s 2018 report, when the population of other livestock is declining, the goat population is increasing, surpassing sheep.
Even in Indonesia, based on 2023 data, the largest population of productive livestock is goats, with 19.398 million, compared to cattle, with 18.6 million.
Author: Gusti Grehenson