Harn R/O Systems Blog

Which Takes More Water to Produce: a Pound of Beef or a Pound of Corn?

Posted by Julie Nemeth-Harn on Nov 16, 2016 12:15:00 PM

Harn Water TreatmentYou may be surprised to learn just how much water it takes to grow the food we eat and bring livestock to market. So, just how much water does it take to produce a pound of corn and a pound of beef? Read on to find out!

Related Blog: Can Cars be Made to Run on Water?

Fresh water is a precious natural resource that, though it falls freely from the sky, is available in finite quantities. With many areas of the country dealing with water shortages due to drought, the country's water footprint has been of greater concern in recent years. How is water used when producing our food? Where can conservation efforts work most effectively?

Pound of Corn

Corn is in practically every household in the country. It's consumed as a side dish, used in casseroles, bread, soup and on the cob! For many, it's delicious. Though, how much water is used to make a pound?

  • A high-yielding corn crop uses about 600,000 gallons of water per acre.
  • An acre of corn releases approximately 4,000 gallons of water a day in evaporation.
  • Corn uses nearly 3,000 gallons of water for each bushel of yield.
  • Finally, it takes approximately 127 gallons of water to produce one pound of corn.

Pound of Beef

Whether you're enjoying a juicy hamburger or grilled steak, producing beef requires a large amount of water before it can be put on your kitchen table. In fact, it takes three times the water to produce beef than to produce chicken, and it requires two times more water than pork.

In the United States, it is estimated that it takes 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.

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Topics: water footprint