How Much Feed Is Required to Produce Beef?

It is estimated that more than 17 pounds (8 kg) of grain feed is required to produce 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of beef. By comparison, poultry requires about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of feed to produce 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of meat. As demand for beef and other meat grows worldwide, critics say that diets high in animal protein are damaging to the environment because of the amount of resources — such as grain, water and land — that is used to produce it. To reduce the use of resources, some farmers have experimented with high-protein grain mixes and other feeding production methods to increase the weight of their cattle.

More about beef:

  • About one-third of all grain worldwide is fed to cattle and other livestock.

  • Some supporters of the campaign to decrease meat consumption recommend insects as an alternative protein source because they require fewer resources. For example, it takes 3.75 pounds (1.7 kg) of feed to produce 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of crickets.

  • It is estimated that about 972 gallons (3,682 liters) of water are used to produce 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of boneless beef, from irrigation of land to processing the carcasses.
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Discussion Comments


Feedlot grain is toxic to cows. It causes a variety of illnesses that result in atrocious quality beef that contains diseases, toxins and residues from the antibiotics used to try to prevent the animal from dying of gut toxicity in its feedlot prior to slaughter.

A cow needs 8kg of grass and pasture to produce 1kg of beef that's suitable for human consumption. That's a good trade-off because unlike grain, humans can't eat grass.

Grass fed beef is good for the environment (by placing the animal in a self-sustaining ecosystem soil quality is improved), the animal lives a life worth living, and the consumer receives beef that will promote health instead of impair it.


I support a campaign that has some of these people being allowed to eat nothing but 2.2 pounds of insects and weeds daily so they can do their part, and be busy enough doing it that they quit trying to force their agenda on the rest of us.

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