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One item of conventional wisdom goes like this: China is getting richer, its population will eat more meat, and that will result in enormous demand for grains, and thus the future of grain prices looks rosy.

There may be something to this, but nothing is quite that straightforward.

Pareto Securities has put together some fascinating charts on grain, meat, population, and China that are definitely worth your consideration.

First, this is something we've been curious about: the meat-to-grain ratio for various meats.

Grain Meat

Image: Pareto Securities

What's interesting is that Chinese meat consumption is already nearing European levels on a per-capita basis.

click on charts to enlarge

Grain Meat

Image: Pareto Securities

And beyond that, all around the world, red meat is losing out to poultry, which uses less grain.

chart

Image: Pareta Securities

Meanwhile, Chinese population growth has begun to slow.

chart

Image: Pareto Securities

And acreage yields are going up, thanks to technology.

chart

Image: Pareto Securities

Bottom line: It's not all up and to the right as grain bulls might have suspected. In fact, looking over the long-term, grain growth in India and China has never grown that much at all -- certainly nothing like oil.

grain

Image: Pareto Securities

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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: Six Must-See Charts on Grains, China, Meats, And Population Growth