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1008 PD: The sun never sets on feed & fuel consumption

Published on 30 June 2008

This past month I visited Great Britain, specifically Scotland and England, for the first time.

(See articles 'Progressive Events', 'Do the pastures get any greener than this?', and 'Symposium discusses ensiling, feeding distillers grains' for a review of my dairy tour and a dairy feature about a Scottish producer.) What amazed me most about the country was its diversity and current economic advantage. Each time I rode the subway, the island nation’s diversity was evident. And each time I purchased dinner there I found out how well off Britain's currency and economy are right now. Their “dollar” menu was costing me about $1.97. Call it a weak dollar or a beat-down U.S. economy if you want, but I couldn't help but wonder if financial maturation of a few developing nations that were formerly dominated by the British empire aren’t significantly impacting feed and fuel consumption. I’ve provided a few numbers that are, in my opinion, worth pondering. (See the table.)

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In my opinion, if some of the former British colonies and their feed and fuel consumption trends grow up to be anything like their Mother Country they’ll shake up feed, fuel and milk markets – for good and bad.

First, although mainland China wasn’t ever a British colony, Hong Kong was. It’s the elephant in the room so I’ve included it in my list with colonies more directly descended from British rule, including our own country.

First, as China and India develop, they also demand an increasing amount of petroleum energy. In the last 10 years, demand for such energy in each of these countries has increased each year by more than 5 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. India appears to be looking up to its matron with regard to its interest in cars.

That’s the bad news. Now for the possible silver lining.

I believe the most interesting statistic to note is the percent of dietary protein and fat consumption from milk products for U.K. residents. In the last 50 years, this percentage has been as high as 21 percent and 16 percent, respectively. In the future, if the yet-developing nations of India and South Africa approach a milk fat and protein consumption level similar to that of their former ruling empire, it will significantly expand markets for dairy products. Imagine what even a small increase in milk product consumption in China would do for demand.

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So even though a few of the former British colonies are growing up and having a “negative” impact on fuel demand by demanding more motorcars, I hope they also begin consuming one of the developed world’s next most sought-after goods – milk products – which are already loved and indulged in by many residents in the current British empire. PD

Walt Cooley
Editor

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