GLOBAL - Meeting the protein demands of a growing world population will require over 700 million more cattle in 2050 than today unless production becomes more efficient.
Analysts at Elanco are suggesting that, at current productivity, world cow and water buffalo numbers need to lift from 1.68 billion to 2.38 billion in 35 years.
Such herd expansion is based on calculations at current productivity levels to satisfy a nine billion head population and a 40 per cent increase in beef demand.
This includes a three billion swell in the middle class, expected to bring a 60 per cent demand increase in animal proteins overall.
Considering the figures, which are part of a food security drive entitled The Enough Movement, Elanco technical advisor, Gary Vogel asked whether this is sustainable in a world already using 1.5 times the amount of resources than the world generates each year.
He pointed to the US as a very efficient cattle rearing nation, although said “tremendous opportunities to improve productivity” existed for other countries.
“We have to look at the beef complex around the world,” said Mr Vogel. “Here in the US we are very efficient at what we do and so a lot of things we can do to improve efficiency most livestock producers in the US already do.”
Highlighting parasiticides, anthelmintics and genetics as ways to increase efficiencies, Mr Vogel flagged Indonesia as region that could do more.
He stressed that there are no easy, catch-all solutions, instead prescribing a sympathetic approach to restrictions from geography, socio-economics and religion.
He added: “The movement we are trying to create is not to get people to change but to become more aware of what they are doing and try to find ways they can more efficiently produce beef in the future.”