The beginning of a new article by VRG Research Director Jeanne Yacoubou, MS, entitled “Factors Involved in Calculating Grain:Meat Conversion Ratios” is excerpted below, and can be read in full here.
Factors Involved in Calculating Grain:Meat Conversion Ratios
Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
“An environmental argument for vegetarianism often involves a discussion of the relative efficiency by which livestock convert grains and legumes that they consume into meat eaten by some people. The process of converting grain, legumes, and their byproducts into human-edible meat is commonly expressed as a grain:meat conversion ratio.
While researching the quantities and types of feedstuffs needed by livestock to produce meat, the writer noticed wide discrepancies in grain:meat ratios calculated by various scientists, government agencies, nonprofits, and agribusiness. Some ratios ran as high as 16 pounds of grain per pound of meat to a low of 0.3 pounds of grain per pound of meat. Thus began an investigation into some of the many factors involved in calculating grain:meat conversion ratios. The investigation revealed the importance of considering the assumptions implicit in all of the determinations. Without a working knowledge of authors’ assumptions, the ratios lack meaning. When two competing values based on different assumptions are viewed together, they cannot be accurately compared.”