Livestock Diets

Today, 35% of all grain (and 60% of coarse grains) is fed to livestock. Converting grain protein to meat protein results in loss of efficiency. For example, the feed conversion ratios range from 1:2 for chicken to 1:4 for pork and 1:10 for beef. In other words, we can provide the same nutrition to four times as many people from grain directly as we can from pork that was fed the grain. This does not account for the physical space required to raise livestock. The transition to a meat-based diet has been dubbed the "livestock revolution" (i.e., the rising consumer demand for livestock products in developing countries with rapid population growth, rising incomes, and urbanization) (Delgado et al. 1999; Wood and Ehui 2005). From 1982-1992, while the demand for meat increased by 1% per year in developed countries, it increased by 5.4% per year in developing countries (Wood et al. 2000). The IMPACT model from the IFPRI projects that global cereal production will increase by 56% and livestock production by 90% between 1997 and 2050, with developing countries accounting for 93% and 85% of the growth in cereal and meat demand, respectively (Rosegrant and Cline 2003).

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