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Food efficiency of livestock in organic farming and competition with human nutrition

Abstract : Livestock are always intended to provide animal protein for human consumption. In the context of world population growth and a decrease in the agricultural area (SDES, 2015), livestock farming is implicated in its consumption of agricultural land and cereals that could be directly used for human consumption. This study, based on a sample of farms in organic farming, aimed at i) characterizing the different feeding systems, ii) identifying and quantifying the different types of animal feed in competition with human food, and iii) measuring feed use efficiency as proposed by Laisse et al. (2017) and Mottet et al. (2017). The efficiency of areas used for human consumption is based on a fixed assumption that only permanent grassland is non-competitive, the other areas being likely to be edible for human. The analysis of feed rations and production of 743 organic dairy farms and 411 organic beef farms led to the estimate of an average 95m² required to produce one kilogram of animal protein in the dairy system and 508m² in the beef system. Beef farms are less efficient and use 2.73 kg of vegetable protein in competition with human nutrition to produce 1 kilogram of animal protein, while dairy farms use an average of only 1.61 kg. The most efficient farms in terms of converting plant protein are using more grass and pastures in the livestock ration. The use of grassland in the systems often requires a larger area than in farms using concentrates. The analysis carried out did not take into account the ecosystem services of the grassland (biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water quality, quality of products).
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Contributor : Roselyne Tâche <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - 1:40:21 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - 8:36:03 AM


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Laurence Madeline, Aurore Mottet, E. Poyard, Patrick Veysset. Food efficiency of livestock in organic farming and competition with human nutrition. Innovations Agronomiques, INRAE, 2020, 79, pp.413-424. ⟨10.15454/1yh2-af26⟩. ⟨hal-03209673⟩



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