A change in Chinese meat consumption habits since 1995 is diverting eight billion bushels of grain per year to livestock feed and could empty global grain stocks by September 2010, according to a new study from Biofuels Digest. The study, "Meat vs Fuel: Grain use in the U.S. and China, 1995-2008," concluded that a complete shutdown of the U.S. ethanol industry would extend the deadline only until 2013.
"It's not food, it's not fuel, it's China," said Jim Lane, editor of Biofuels Digest and author of the report. The study determined that China's meat consumption since 1995 has increased by 112% to 53 kilograms per person per year. The study found that the U.S. increased corn production by 157 million tonnes of corn since 1995: 31 million net tonnes of grain went to support U.S. ethanol production, and 27 million tonnes supported a 15% increase in U.S. population during the period. By contrast, the study projected that livestock grain demand to supply Chinese meat consumption increased by 199 million tonnes between 1995 and 2007.
"Given that the U.S. population grew 15%, the 82% increase in U.S. corn production left plenty for people, plenty for livestock, and plenty for ethanol," said Lane. "The bad news is that we have a global fuel and food crisis of the first magnitude."
Find the full study at www.biofuelsdigest.com.