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TheBeefSite Newsletter - 08 July 2015

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TheBeefSite
Wednesday 8th July 2015.
Michael Priestley - Editor

Michael Priestley
Editor


MSD Animal Health

Is Grass Green? Considering Sustainable Beef

Pork and protein sectors far out-strip beef in terms of feed efficiency but the caveat is that these proteins use resources that could have gone into human food.

This is the point many cattle advocates make when questioned about the viability of beef production long term – it manages land often not fit for arable production.

And this is what UK land management and heritage organisation The National Trust said back in 2013 when it said grass-fed beef is best both for the environment and consumers.

It said optimised beef production was better than maximised beef production.

Meanwhile, due to urbanisation and land degradation, arable land is due to decrease at a rate which will reach a nadir of 0.15 hectares per person in 2050.

This is according to Dr Jude Capper, who has underscored the ‘dilution of maintenance’ theory and the importance of productivity and birth to slaughter metrics in benchmarking the world’s cattle industry.

An advocate of the feedlot systems when used well, Dr Capper has noted that productivity increases “demonstrably reduces” beef’s carbon footprint.

And a UK study is serving to illustrate the range of criteria and metrics, in addition to land use type and carbon, which can be used to benchmark the sustainability of a beef operation.

Animal performance in daily weight gain; inputs and sales in pounds and pence; greenhouse gas emissions; animal health and welfare and biodiversity are what grassland studies conducted at the Rothamsted Institute integrated research farm - North Wyke – are looking at. read more

The UK study is assessing land related efficiencies by carrying capacity, nutritional quality and nutrient and soil loss to water.

All beef production systems are “potentially sustainable”, according to Dr Capper.

But dilution of maintenance means systems incorporating feedlots often work out more efficient in terms of carbon, methane, land use and animals used, she says in a study.

Her US assessment characterises grass-fed beef as taking over 200 days longer than conventional feedlot beef to produce cattle 90 kilos lighter than a 'conventional' US system.

Grass-fed takes 77.5 per cent more animals, 88 per cent more land has a 54 per cent higher population nutrient requirement.

A Dr Capper study included the calculation that if all US beef produced in 2010 has been grass-fed the country would have had to have grown by 75 per cent the size of Texas.

Figures for water use per system are a little vaguer though and depend hugely on the extent of irrigation.

In the coming decades it will be water efficiencies and footprint, as opposed to carbon, that Dr Capper predicts will be the most important measure for society and farming.



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This Week's Articles and Analysis

Can Grazing Systems Produce High Quality Beef Without Increasing Environmental Footprint?
ANALYSIS - Land unsuitable for crop production can be used as a source of human food through grazing, writes Chris Harris.

Market Reports

UK June 2015 Farming and Food Brief
Irish CSO Reports - Agricultural Price Indices May 2015
AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 6 July 2015
UK Animal Feed Statistics - May 2015

Global Beef Industry News

   United Kingdom

Badger Culling to Commence in Northern Ireland
Have You Been Feeling the Heat?
BVA Promotes Farm Safety Guidance as Survey Reveals High Injury Levels
Livestock Event 2015: Ensure Youngstock are Healthy and Productive
Warm Weather Brings Major Parasite Pressure

   Ireland

New Strategy for the Irish Agri Food Sector to Improve Exports, Jobs

   Norway

Paratuberculosis Outbreak Found in Norway

   France

French Plans to Support Agri-food Sector to 2025

   Australia

Gay Marriage Could Threaten Australian Cattle Trade, Warns Minister

   Global

Huge Opportunities for Agricultural Growth in West Africa
Southern African Drought Hammers Livestock Producers
Food Prices Expected to Fall Over Next Decade
UK, US Feed Market Prices Increasing

   Netherlands

Food Security in a Transparent World
Sharing Knowledge of Animal Nutrition Can Help Bridge Productivity Gap

   Botswana

More Foot and Mouth Found in Botswanan Cattle

   European Union

Acquisition of Elivia by Terrena and Dawn Meats Cleared

   United States

South American Beef Ban Lift Meets Strong Farm Opposition

Events/Promotions

swinecast-your-connection-at-your-convenience
The Drost Project - A Visual Guide to Porcine, Pig Reproduction.
Livestock Event 2015 - 8th & 9th July Birmingham NEC, B40 1NT
Biomin - Dairy Heifer: How to Get a Fast Start to Greater Lifetime Profit

Partners

Biomin - The Natural Way
Life Technologies
More on VIROCID - The Global Disinfectant



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