The net contribution of livestock to the supply of human edible protein: the case of Ireland
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CitationHennessy DP, Shalloo L, van Zanten HHE, Schop M, De Boer IJM (2021). The net contribution of livestock to the supply of human edible protein: the case of Ireland. The Journal of Agricultural Science 1–9. https:// doi.org/10.1017/S0021859621000642
AbstractIf current food consumption patterns continue, the agriculture sector must provide significantly more food in the coming years from the available land area. Some livestock systems engage in feed–food competition as arable land is used for livestock feed rather than as crops for food; reducing the global supply of food. There is a growing argument that to meet future-food demands sustainably, feed–food competition must be minimized. To this end, we evaluated the effectiveness of two refined metrics to quantify feed–food competition in three livestock systems; dairy and its beef, suckler beef and pig production in Ireland. The metrics are edible protein conversion ratio (EPCR) and the land-use ratio (LUR). The EPCR compares the amount of human digestible protein (HDP) in livestock feed against the amount of HDP the livestock produced, calculating how efficiently it produces HDP. However, the LUR compares the potential HDP from a crop system on the land used to produce the livestock’s feed against the HDP the livestock system produced. In both metrics, a value <1 demonstrates an efficient system. The EPCR values for dairy beef (0.22) and suckler beef (0.29) systems consider them efficient producers, whereas pig production (1.51) is inefficient. The LUR values designate that only the dairy beef (0.58) is a net positive producer of HDP from the land used for its feed, with crop production producing more HDP than suckler beef (1.34) and pig production (1.73). Consequently, the LUR can be deemed to be more suitable to represent feed–food competition in livestock production.
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