Some people wonder whether land used for livestock in Australia should be used to grow crops instead. Well, because this country has unique geological, topographic and climatic factor, just 3% of Australia’s agricultural land is suited to cropping.
Much of the continent consists of semi-arid areas and extensive rangelands – non-arable land that doesn’t suit crops. So much of the 50% of Australia’s land mass (over 4.2 million square kilometres) used by the red meat industry is really only suited to livestock.
In addition, most feed that livestock eat is inedible by humans. Around 86% of plant materials fed to livestock globally are lower value by-products that do not meet human consumption standards. Cattle, sheep and goats, however, can convert this grass and other plants with low nutrient value into high-quality protein, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that humans can enjoy as part of a balanced diet.
Get the facts on cows, methane, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
How much water does it take to produce 1kg of beef? The red meat industry is more water-efficient than you might think.
Should land used for grazing cattle should be converted into growing crops?