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Beef Sustainability:

What does that


mean?
October 6, 2016
Monterrey, Mexico

Sara Place, PhD


Assistant Professor in Sustainable Beef Cattle Systems
Oklahoma State University
World Population
10000

9000

8000
Population, millions of persons

7000

6000

5000

4000

3000

2000

1000

0
10,000 BC Year 2050
Source: US Census Bureau
World Population
10000 1804: 1 Billion
9000 1927: 2 Billion
8000 1960: 3 Billion
Population, millions of persons

7000 1975: 4 Billion


6000
1987: 5 Billion
5000
1999: 6 Billion
2011: 7 Billion
4000

2025: 8 Billion
3000

2000
2045: 9 Billion
1000

0
10,000 BC Year 2050
Source: US Census Bureau
How do we meet 70%
increased demand in
animal protein by 2050
sustainably?
What is sustainability?
Sustainability =
environmental
impact?
No.
Economics and social issues must also be
considered.

Photo Courtesy of Oklahoma State University


Sustainability a wicked
problem
Such a problem has the essential characteristic
that it is not solvable; it can only be managed.

No clear definition of the problem


No right or wrong rather better or worse
Stakeholders have different ways of looking
at the problem
Causes and effects within the system are
complex, unknown and/or highly uncertain

Peterson, 2013
Economic

Environment Social
Economic

Environment Social
Economic

Long-term business viability, stewardship of natural


resources, and responsibility to community, family,
animals

Environment Social
Temperature and CO2
concentration

-data/datasets/ice-core

Source: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/paleoclimatology
Temperature and CO2
concentration
http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
Global Warming Potential
Units = Carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2 eq.), 100 year time scale

Carbon Dioxide CO2 1


Global Warming Potential
Units = Carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2 eq.), 100 year time scale

Carbon Dioxide CO2 1

Methane CH4 28
Global Warming Potential
Units = Carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2 eq.), 100 year time scale

Carbon Dioxide CO2 1

Methane CH4 28

Nitrous oxide N2O 265


Livestocks Long Shadow
The Livestock sector is a major
player, responsible for 18% of
GHG emissions measured in
CO2e. This is a higher share
than transport (FAO 2006)
Used Life Cycle Assessment
U.S. dairy carbon footprint
Life cycle assessment
59%
6% electricity

35% manure
methane
Footprint measured in metric tons of CO2e*

21%
12% fuel use 59% enteric
24% fertilizer methane 7%
7%
2% refrigerant
23% fuel
35% container
3% 3%
64% soil N2O
formation 28% refrigerant
75% electricity 65% raw material 100% Diesel 72% energy

Crop Milk Transport/


Processing Packaging Retail
Production Production Distribution
Enteric methane

CH4

Photo Courtesy of Oklahoma State University


Enteric methane

CH4

Photo Courtesy of Oklahoma State University


Source: Savory Institute
Land degradation in dr ylands Current forest cover National boundar ies
Net loss of forest Net gain of forest

Figure 8 Forest transition and land degradation in dry lands (FAO, 2006).
Livestock units per square km
0 0.10.5 12.5 National boundar ies
00.1 0.51 >2.5

Figure 4 Global estimates of aggregate distribution of pigs, poultry, cattle, and small
ruminants (FAO, 2006).
Prov
ided
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Clearing the air


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All o
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perso selling or duction a
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issio ti u
n ma tutions copies or tion, inc

1. LLS is a global assessment, should not be


y be webs lu
http:/ sought ite or access, o ding wit
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From .else r such us ository, a ting on o t limitatio
Clea : Mauric vier.
com/l e throug re prohib pen inte n comm
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US: 3.5% of GHG emissions


0.

Paraguay: ~50%
Ethiopia: ~90%
2. Transport was not analyzed with LCA
method
New UN FAO report
14.5% of global
anthropogenic GHG
Regions with more
modern, intensive
production systems
have lower GHG
emissions per unit of
beef
What is missing from the debate?
-Context.

Less than 1% of solar energy is


captured by photosynthesis
Cellulose

Most abundant organic compound on the


planet yet, humans cannot digest it.
Beef Cow Inventory, Millions of Head

0
10
15
20
25
30
40
45
50

35
1930
1933
1936
1939
1942
1945
1948
1951
1954
1957
1960
1963
1966
1969
1972

Year
1975
1978
1981
1984
1987
1990
1993
1996
1999
2002
2005
2008
January 1 beef cow inventory

2011
2014
Source: USDA-NASS
Beef Production, billions of lbs.

0
10
20
25

15
30
1930
1933
1936
1939
1942
1945
1948
1951
1954
1957
1960
1963
1966
1969
1972

Year
1975
1978
1981
US beef production

1984
1987
1990
1993
1996
1999
2002
2005
2008
2011
Source: USDA-NASS
Beef Cows, Millions of Head

0
5
10
20
25
30
35
40
45
50

15
1930
1933
1936
1939
1942
1945
1948
1951
Beef Cows, Jan 1

1954
Beef Production, lbs.

1957
1960
1963
1966
1969
1972
1975
1978
1981
1984
1987
1990
1993
1996
1999
2002
with 30% fewer animals

2005
Beef production and cow inventory

2008
Produce same amount of beef

2011
2014
0
5
10
15
20
25
30

Beef Production, Billions of Lbs.


Source: USDA-NASS
Historical context
-16%

-18%

-33%

-12%

-19%

-30%

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%


2007 1977 Capper, 2011 JAS 89:4249-4261
Historical context
-16%

-18%

-33%

-12%

-19%

-30%

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%


2007 1977 Capper, 2011 JAS 89:4249-4261
Historical context
-16%

-18%

Production efficiency: -33%

More with less -12%

-19%

-30%

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%


2007 1977 Capper, 2011 JAS 89:4249-4261
Emissions intensity (kg CO2-eq/g
protein) not the same across the
world

Source: Herrero et al., 2013. PNAS.110: 20888-20893


Production efficiency
considerations
Reproductive efficiency

Animal health

Genetics

Nutrition

Growth promoting technologies

Photo Courtesy of Oklahoma State University


Food insecurity - Global

2014-16: 795 million people (1 in 9) world-wide were


suffering from chronic hunger
Food security has national
security implications
Food insecurity - US

Source: http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/key-statistics-graphics.aspx#foodsecure
Is the solution to food
insecurity producing
more food?
It is not that simple
Food waste
According to UN
FAO, 1.3 billion tons
of food wasted
globally each year

In US, 66.5 million


tons of food wasted
annually!!

Source: http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/infographics/meat/en/
Sustainability challenges

Photo Courtesy of Oklahoma State University


Negative impacts of climate
change and variability on cattle
productivity

Photo Courtesy of Oklahoma State University


Public perception of
intensive systems
Communication and
engagement with the public
For research in sustainable intensification of
animal agriculture to meet the challenges of
future animal protein needs, it is necessary to
effectively close the existing broad
communication gap between the public,
researchers, and the food industries.

Misinformation is a problem, but also we


also have differences in values,
interests, and lack of trust more than
just an educate the public issue
Economic

Is about continuous improvement all production


systems can be sustainable
Environment Social
Sara E. Place, PhD
Assistant Professor
Sustainable Beef Cattle Systems
Department of Animal Science
Oklahoma State University
Email: sara.place@okstate.edu
Tel.: 405-744-8858

Photo Courtesy of Oklahoma State University