Food Production And Land

Location of food production in the world is affected by people and land resources. The suitability of the land for

Working Team Organizationwww.dekker.com.)"/>
Fig. 1 Urban and rural interface: the coexistence of the human population and commercial food animal production. (View this art in color at www.dekker.com.)

food production is very important, and the availability of technology to people in developed countries is key to production of food for the population in the country and for export. Public policies and cultural traditions also impact the food production system. Over 50% of the land area is used for agricultural production in Argentina, Australia, China, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, but land area per person ranges from 0.7 ha/person (China) to 40 ha/person (Australia), with each having a population growth of about 1.0 to 1.2% (Table 1). In contrast, Canada and Japan have 7.5 and 13.8% of the land in agricultural production, with population densities of 32.1 and 0.3 ha/person, respectively. Yet the reasons for the percentage of land in agricultural production differ. Much of Canada's land is not productive because it is in the extreme northern climate, and much of Japan's land is used for housing in that densely populated country. However, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have a similar human population per land area to that of Japan, yet the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have more

Table 1 Human population, total land area, and agricultural land area in selected countries for 2001

Land areab

Agricultural

Agricultural

Population®

Populationa

Land area

land areab

land area

Country

( x 1000)

growth (%)

( x 1000 ha)

(ha/person)

( x 1000 ha)

(% of land area)

Argentina

37,488

1.3

278,040

7.4

177,000

63.7

Australia

19,338

1.2

774,122

40.0

455,500

58.9

Brazil

172,559

1.4

854,740

5.0

263,465

30.8

Canada

31,015

1.0

997,061

32.1

74,880

7.5

China

1,284,972

1.0

959,805

0.7

555,276

57.9

Japan

127,335

0.3

37,780

0.3

5,199

13.8

Netherlands

15,930

0.6

4,153

0.3

1,931

46.5

New Zealand

3,808

1.1

27,053

7.1

117,235

63.7

United Kingdom

59,542

0.3

24,291

0.4

16,954

69.8

United States

285,926

1.0

962,909

3.4

411,259

42.7

Table 2 Population (x 1000) of primary food animals, animal units (AU; x 1000), and hectares of agricultural land area (ALA) per AU in selected countries for 2002

Animal

All Dairy units" ha

Table 2 Population (x 1000) of primary food animals, animal units (AU; x 1000), and hectares of agricultural land area (ALA) per AU in selected countries for 2002

Animal

All Dairy units" ha

Country

cattle

cows

Sheep

Goats

Pigs

Chickens

Ducks

Geese

Turkeys

Horses

(AU)

ALA/AU

Argentina

50,669

2,300

14,000

3,550

4,250

110,500

2,350

135

2,850

3,650

64,519

2.74

Australia

30,500

2,120

113,000

310

2,912

93,000

540

-

1,400

220

53,154

8.57

Brazil

176,000

15,600

15,000

9,800

30,000

1,050,000

3,500

-

13,000

5,900

225,345

1.17

Canada

13,700

1,084

994

30

14,367

160,000

1,150

300

5,900

385

19,990

3.75

China

106,175

5,134

136,972

161,492

464,695

3,923,600

661,250

215,000

250

8,262

306,874

1.81

Japan

4,564

1,219

11

35

9,612

283,102

-

-

3

20

10,384

0.50

Netherlands

4,050

1,486

1,300

215

13,000

98,000

1,020

-

1,523

122

9,589

0.20

New Zealand

9,633

3,749

43,142

183

358

13,000

170

65

70

78

21,793

5.38

United Kingdom

10,343

2,222

35,832

-

5,588

155,800

4,000

100

8,500

184

21,916

0.77

United States

96,700

9,135

6,685

1,250

59,074

1,940,000

6,650

-

88,000

5,300

148,654

2.77

'Calculated based on estimated dry matter excreted per day using the beef animal as the base, with body weight (kg) and the coefficient for each species, respectively, being: cattle (less dairy cows), 500 0 and 1 000; dairy cows, 545 0 and 2 310; sheep, 45 0 and 0 160; pigs, 70 0 and 0 170; chickens, 1 1 and 0 009; ducks, 1 6 and 0 014; geese, 4 5 and 0 040; turkeys, 6 0 and 0 024; and horses, 455 0 and 1 700, respectively (From Ref 2 )

'Calculated based on estimated dry matter excreted per day using the beef animal as the base, with body weight (kg) and the coefficient for each species, respectively, being: cattle (less dairy cows), 500 0 and 1 000; dairy cows, 545 0 and 2 310; sheep, 45 0 and 0 160; pigs, 70 0 and 0 170; chickens, 1 1 and 0 009; ducks, 1 6 and 0 014; geese, 4 5 and 0 040; turkeys, 6 0 and 0 024; and horses, 455 0 and 1 700, respectively (From Ref 2 )

land devoted to agricultural production than Japan. Increased environmental regulations in both countries and animal welfare guidelines in the United Kingdom are having major impacts on food animal production. These changes are driven somewhat by cultural views and the limited land base to support the presence of food animals, with the Netherlands and the United Kingdom having less than one hectare of agricultural land per animal unit (Table 2).

Sufficient land base is needed for food animal production, not only directly for the animals but also for growing the crops to feed the animals and to which manure can be applied for fertilizer. Alternative uses of manure, instead of providing nutrients for crop production, include energy generation from methane production and composting for use in agronomic or ornamental horticulture, although these systems are in various stages of development and acceptance. Countries with high concentrations of animals per hectare of agricultural land are going to be faced with continued pressure from the urban and rural interface. Yet the concentration of animals within a country is not the only factor that gives rise to these pressures. For example, the United States has 2.77 ha per animal unit, and many hectares of agricultural land have been idled in recent years by governmental programs to control production of grain. Consequently, a lot of available land for agriculture has not been in use.

The concern over food animal production varies by state within the United States due to the availability of water resources, the human population of the state, the cultural acceptance of agriculture, and the accepted meaning of a family farm. Within a state, these aspects can vary even within a community. In some areas, animal density is actually much lower than 20 years ago, but urban rural pressures are intense. Therefore, the interface oftentimes becomes a local community issue because of the concentration of animals within a community and the demand for resources. Who was there first the animal production facility or the resident community? Was the new animal production unit begun by someone from the local community or by someone outside the local community (e.g., from another state or country) ''Can they be trusted?'' If the animal operation already in existence is expanding, ''Are they accepted in the community?''

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