Innovation in feeding cattle

Innovation in feeding cattle

Innovation in livestock feeding can minimise their impact on the environment, improve their health, and help with logistics.

Summary: Innovation in feeding cattle covers a number of areas including minimising their impact on the environment, improving their health, and in the logistics of feeding.

Why this is important: Agriculture, forestry and other land use generates 22 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and utilises 72 percent of global freshwater supplies. Meat is responsible for a big part of that impact and how cattle are fed is a significant aspect. It is also an important battleground in the fight against antimicrobial resistance as antibiotics have been historically overused in concentrated animal feed.

The big theme: There are real concerns about our ability to feed the world, while at the same time trying to reduce the impacts on our natural world. Agriculture (and its sibling, aquaculture) sits at the intersection of a number of UN Sustainable Development Goals. The goals are either directly relevant (for example, goal 2: zero hunger) or have a causal relationship (for example, education improving with better nutrition and less pollution). Reforming agriculture is going to require massive social and economic change and disruption to production methods, to supply chains and to employment.

The details

Why this is important

Agriculture, and specifically meat production, has a big environmental footprint. The two main areas are GHG emissions and water usage. In addition, how cattle are fed can have important implications for their health and the use of antibiotics in their rearing.

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