Cattle relaxing on the streets of India
The world cattle inventory in 2020 was reported at 987.5 million head.
India has the largest cattle inventory in the world in 2020 followed by Brazil & the United States. Roughly 65% of the world’s cattle are in India, Brazil & the United States. (The cattle inventory in India includes water buffalo).
Cattle ranch in Brazil. Ranching greatly contributes to deforestation in the Amazon region of the country.
Cattle ranch in the United States
Harvest in South-Central Manitoba.
Manitoba corn crops.
Cattle relaxing and grazing on a nice September day.
Scotland has more sheep than people. In June 2013 the sheep population was 6.57 million on about 14,800 farms, according to the Scottish government.
Ewes used for breeding in the previous season accounted for 40% of the total, with rams to be used for breeding just 1%. Lambs made up the largest proportion with 47%, other sheep over one year old accounted for 12%.
Scotland has 5.3 million people according to the latest Census figures.
According to the FAOSTAT database of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the top five countries by number of heads of sheep (average from 1993 to 2013) were: mainland China (146.5 million heads), Australia (101.1 million), India (62.1 million), Iran (51.7 million), and the former Sudan (46.2 million). Approximately 540 million sheep are slaughtered each year for meat worldwide.
In 2013, the five countries with the largest number of heads of sheep were mainland China (175 million), Australia (75.5 million), India (53.8 million), the former Sudan (52.5 million), and Iran (50.2 million). In 2018 Mongolia has 30.2 million sheep. In 2013, the number of heads of sheep were distributed as follows: 44% in Asia, 28.2% in Africa; 11.2% in Europe, 9.1% in Oceania, 7.4% in the Americas.
The Chianina is an Italian breed of cattle, formerly principally a draught breed, now raised mainly for beef. It is the largest and one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world. The famous bistecca alla fiorentina (‘beefsteak Florentine style’) is produced from its meat.
One of the oldest breeds of cattle, the Chianina originates in the area of the Valdichiana, from which it takes its name, and the middle Tiber valley. Chianina cattle have been raised in the Italian regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio for at least 2200 years.
The Chianina is both the tallest and the heaviest breed of cattle. Mature bulls stand up to 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in), and castrated oxen may reach 2 m (6 ft 7 in). It is not unusual for bulls to exceed 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) in weight. Males standing over 1.51 m (4 ft 11 in) at 12 months are considered top-grade. A Chianina bull named Donetto holds the world record for the heaviest bull, reported by one source as 1,740 kg (3,840 lb) when exhibited at the Arezzo show in 1955, but as 1,780 kg (3,920 lb) and 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) tall at the age of 8 by others including the Tenuta La Fratta, near Sinalunga in the province of Siena, where he was bred. Cows usually weigh 800–900 kg (1,800–2,000 lb), but commonly exceed 1,000 kg (2,200 lb); those standing over 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in) are judged top-grade. Calves routinely weigh over 50 kg (110 lb) at birth. The coat of the Chianina is white; very slight grey shading round the eyes and on the foreparts is tolerated. The skin, muzzle, switch, hooves and the tips of the horns are black.
At the end of 2010 there were 47,236 head registered in Italy, of which more than 90% were in Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio; it is, after the Marchigiana, the second indigenous beef breed of Italy.
Don’t want one these beasts to get agitated when you are nearby.
Their history as draft animals means that Chianinas were bred for docile temperaments, as they had to work closely with people. That good disposition is important in a cow as large as the Chianina.
Grain bins, technically called steel grain silos, dot the the Prairies and Plains of North America. They come in many different sizes, tiny to massive. They first appeared in the 1920’s, they would last longer than wood structures and were stronger. Driving across grain country of the central U.S. and Canada they are everywhere.
I kept my eyes peeled for them on this latest trip to south central Manitoba. They are all over the place.
These big ones can hold up to 30,000 bushels of grain. Brock makes giant grain bins that can hold up to 71,000 bushels!
They have their own staircases up to the top.
Near Roseisle Manitoba above
A lonely solitary bin
Hopper bottom bins
South Central Manitoba
I took a road trip to the western edge of the Red River Valley in Manitoba. The two major communities in the area are Winkler and Morden.
There are still some ripe corn fields standing.
Cool old house in Morden.
New statistics on the number of slaughtered pigs in Spain have stirred fears in the country’s media that the animals may soon outnumber the human population and end up hogging local resources.
The Ministry of Environment released figures this week saying that Spain had slaughtered some 50m pigs last year – 3.5m more than the country’s 46.5m population.
This has led to local papers voicing their concern that Spain’s pig population had managed to surpass its human population. However, according to Euronews, there are 16 million fewer pigs than people at any given time, with many piglets being slaughtered shortly after they are born.
It is, however, becoming a wider concern throughout the European Union that the rapid growth of pig farming may lead to there being more porkers than people.
Strain on local resources
Currently, the only European Union country with more pigs than people is Denmark, with Eurostat figures from 2016 putting its pig-to-human population at 215 pigs for every 100 people. Denmark’s human population is 5.7m, meaning that there are approximately 12.3m pigs.
However, The Netherlands, Spain and Belgium all have large pig populations that are rapidly catching up with human population figures.
Concerns are perhaps greatest for Spain, given that with some 30 million pigs, it has the largest pig population of any European Union country.
According to the Publico newspaper, Spain has seen a surge of pig farming over the last five years to meet a growing demand to export pork products such as Iberico ham and Jamon Serrano to large pork-eating countries, including China, Japan and Southeast Asia.
But the domestic expansion of pig farming is putting a strain on the country’s environmental resources.
Many areas of Spain suffer from heavy drought, and each animal requires some 15 litres (3.3 gallons) of water a day. NGO Ecologists in Action also warns that the animals risk contaminating what little groundwater is left with animal waste nitrates.
And as the Ministry of Ecological Transition highlights, the animals are also responsible for a large number of greenhouse gas emissions.
The ministry says that currently in Spain, they are responsible for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the country, and are the fourth largest producer after electricity, industry and transport.
Number of pigs worldwide in 2018, by leading country (in million head)*