Effects of production potential, system of production on environmental footprint in different animal species
Growing world population and increasing purchasing power increases the world consumption of animal products. To consider aspects of more efficient utilization of basic resources as water, feed etc. requires more attention, combined with the growing concern regarding, the environmental footprint, per unit product and its interrelationship with the production potential of the animal populations, and systems of production. In latter context research results are reviewed. Poultry, pig, sheep dairy cattle and beef production examples are presented, showing clearly that more productive populations and systems are characterized by significantly reduced environmental footprint per unit product compared to less efficient ones. Water utilization as an example was improved due to genetic improvement in broilers and turkeys by 250−300% in breast fillet meat production in the last 30 years. Dairy production system developments in the USA between 1944 and 2007 reduced the environmental footprint, and reduced the necessary feed production area dramatically among species the more prolific ones have a competitive edge if production is based on feeds produced by the arable agricultural sector.