Western Producer: How much water is required to produce a pound of beef?
When a group of schoolchildren from Surrey, B.C., asked how much water is needed to produce a pound of beef, the staff at the Beef Cattle Research Council had to admit they did not know.
“It was a challenge to do this because all we could really account for was how much water a cow would drink,” said Reynold Bergen of the research council during the Alberta Beef Producers annual meeting held last month.
The council calculated that a cow needs eight gallons of drinking water to produce a pound of beef, but that did not account for feed production and processing.
Research led by Getahun Legesse of the University of Manitoba took on the task and calculated 1,590 gallons is needed per pound of beef.
Legesse’s full research on water use for livestock production will be published in early 2018.