Dairy is expected to be the fastest growing livestock sector over the next decade, with global milk supply projected to increase by 23%. However, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned that the global agri-food sector faces fundamental challenges.
This includes the need to feed a growing world population in a sustainable manner, the impacts of the climate crisis and the economic consequences and disruptions to food supply due to the war in Ukraine. The report outlines that direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 6% during the next decade, with livestock accounting for 90% of this increase. Emissions are projected to grow at a lower rate than production, due to yield improvements and a reduction in the share of ruminant production.
The number of milking cows is projected to increase by 14%, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Pakistan. Growth of the dairy sector in the European Union, the second-largest milk producer globally, is expected to remain limited. The report cites policies on sustainable production, and the lower-yielding expansion of organic and pasture-based production systems. Herds are expected to decline, limiting growth to 5% by 2031. Growth in the United States, the third-largest milk producer, is expected to be stronger than in the EU as a result of yield increases. The EU is expected to maintain its dominance in global butter and skimmed milk-powder production. The report outlines that global meat production is expected to increase by 15%, with beef contributing 12% to that growth, poultry will make up 45% and 5% will be sheep and goats.