Water footprint of beef production on Texas High Plains pasture

Charles P. West, Lisa L. Baxter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Depletion of the Ogallala aquifer in the U.S. Great Plains demands information on water usage in forage-fed beef production. We compared a summer grazing system for beef steers consisting of warm-season grasses vs. grasses growing with lucerne (Medicago sativa L.). The water footprint averaged 39 and 26 m3 of water kg−1 of beef liveweight gain, respectively, when water included rainfall, irrigation, and livestock drinking. Including lucerne reduced the water footprint of beef weight gain thanks to its ability to alleviate protein deficiency in the associated grasses, thus diminishing an important source of inefficiency in converting feed to meat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-891
Number of pages5
JournalWater International
Volume43
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 18 2018

Keywords

  • Alfalfa
  • U.S. Great Plains
  • beef
  • forage
  • lucerne
  • pasture
  • water footprint

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