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litres of water per lb of beef

For beef, you could figure the number of lbs 
>of plant material to produce 1 lb of beef plus the water that the animal 
>consumed directly and add the two.

Fred, if you're correct at 500 lb of water per
lb of grain, the following guestimates could be

500 lbs of water for one lb of dry matter of grain. 
Guestimate conversion rate at 10:1 means
each lb of steer consumes 5000 lbs of water
"embodied" in its food. It would drink about 
(very, very roughly) 50,000 lbs of water in its short 
lifetime (and return most of it to the environment).  
50 lbs water for per lb of meat for a 1000 lb steer. 
Allow half for  the maintenance of the parents and you 
get 7525 lbs of water for each lb of meat produced.
Or 7525 kg water for each kg of beef.  
7525 litres of water for each kg of beef
 I have little idea what the dry matter 
equivalent of beef would be--10%?  That would
bring it to 75,250 litres, a figure in the same 
order of magnitude as the New Scientist figure. 
This doesn't take into account the relative 
nutitive value of beef and other foods. 
(Please don't flame me, they are all guesses ;-)
Hope I didn't make any calculation errors). 
   As stated in other posts, surely these statistics 
are thought provoking but without context.
The relative use of water is only meaningful if 
there is a shortage of water, ie the water  might
be used for some other purpose. If the water cannot
be effectively used for some other purpose it
doesn't matter how much the steer consumes. 
(Yes, environment counts, that's another aspect
of the issue). 
    Feeding steers in a feedlost, (Fruedian typo)
seems like a really poor use of the water embodied
in the grain. Feedlot beef starts to seem like
an incredible luxury, doesn't it?

Jim Wright
Box 129
Lougheed Alberta Canada
T0B 2V0
403 386-2479