Increasing Demand for Meat Protein

Newsletter No. 56 - Item 3

The following are all interesting articles discussing the future demand for meat protein, the driving forces and the problems this creates.  Please click on the title to download and read each article, they discuss some important and interesting issues:

Can we Feed the Animals?  (Short version)
China’s rapidly growing meat demand: a domestic or an international challenge?
How to feed 2 billion more mouths in 2030? Here are some answers

There are many more articles available with similar discussions - last month’s issue of World Poultry (Oct 2007) carried an article on a similar topic, but that is not yet published on the Internet.   This is a brief summary of their content:

  • further confirmation of the increasing demand for meat protein
  • that increase coming in developing countries driven by the increasing buying power of consumers in those countries
  • developed countries have reached their growth limit when measured in volume as people have a finite daily consumption of meat
  • poultry likely to take the bulk of the increase because of religious constraints on pig meat consumption
  • increased production likely to come in developing countries because of reduced production costs
  • meat production coming mainly from grains in developed countries
  • developing countries produce meat from grazing, crop residues and household waste
  • pressure on our natural resources to produce the additional production
  • technology improving to help provide sustainable agriculture

Ostrich has a role to play in contributing to the increased demand.   As we mention regularly, with ostrich we have one of the most feed efficient of all farmed animals and is probably the most feed efficient of all red meat production animals, when farmed in the right way.  Ostrich meat is acceptable to most religious groups including those unable to eat pig meat, thus providing an alternative to poultry meat – not a replacement, just providing more variability for these consumers.

The table below illustrates the days to slaughter for broiler chicken and different types of pigs, their live-weight and their feed conversion.  It is interesting to compare these figures against the production potential of ostrich.  The figures for ostrich assume 5 years and 10 years of development from introducing management systems that support high levels of production and nutrition that supports the full genetic production potential in the same manner that pig and poultry production has achieved.

Comparative Production Data
Comparative Production Data

How many days do you currently take to get your bird’s to slaughter, what is their liveweight, what are the meat yields and what is the feed conversion?  Whether your production is large or small these are essential measurements of performance to optimise in order to achieve sustainable commercial viability.   Optimising the ability to convert feed efficiently requires fewer resources to produce the meat.  The fewer days taken to take to slaughter, the less area required,  less water to drink and never forgetting that when we feed the birds for maximum production as much as 40% of an ostrich slaughter bird ration is Alfalfa, thus reducing the demand for grains while providing an excellent rotational crop.

During the past month, I have again read articles about excited small producers discussing grazing their ostrich.  We must warn members that depending on grazing grass for ostrich usually results in disappointing results with high levels of chick mortality and other metabolic problems.  It will never be possible to achieve the production efficiencies previously discussed when dependent on grazing ostrich.


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  1. […] are Buffalo/Bison, Venison, Kangaroo, Crocodile, Rabbit, Wild Boar and Reindeer.  As illustrated here Ostrich is proven to have the potential for commercial production on sufficient scale to compliment […]

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