Researchers Develop Framework to Understand Water Use in U.S. Beef Supply Chain

University of Pittsburgh researchers designed a model that traces water use in the U.S. beef supply chain from calf production to beef consumption. Most of the water is used for feed production. “To irrigate feed crops for each ton of boneless beef eaten in the US, we found that approximately 3.5 cubic meters of blue water is needed,” lead author Anaís Ostroski said. “That’s equivalent to more than 900 gallons of water.” Additionally, the study revealed a major disconnect between consumption and production counties, with over 22 billion cubic meters of virtual blue water being transferred in the year 2017.