Feeding or grazing genetically modified corn has no effect on livestock performance, according to University of Nebraska research.
The studies involved Bt corn for rootworms and Roundup Ready corn. The results reinforce earlier findings on genetically modified crops’ feed value at Nebraska and other land-grant universities, notes Galen Erickson, Nebraska animal scientist.
Bottom line for livestock producers is they can expect the same livestock performance whether they feed genetically modified corn or conventional corn, he says.
About 60 percent of the U.S. corn supply is fed to livestock.
“It’s important that if we change corn traits that the feeding value doesn’t decline,” Erickson says. “Bt and Roundup Ready corn are advantageous from an agronomic standpoint, but we needed to ensure that the feed value was not negatively impacted.”
Feeding trials for beef, dairy and swine were conducted at the University of Nebraska’s Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead, Neb.
Phil Miller, Nebraska swine nutritionist, compared pig growth and percent lean in pigs fed Bt corn treated to address rootworms versus conventional corn. In another study, he compared nutritional value and nitrogen digestibility for young pigs fed Roundup Ready corn versus those fed conventional corn.
Neither study revealed significant differences, Miller notes. Researchers evaluated 72 barrows and 72 gilts for the Bt study and 12 barrows for the Roundup Ready study. Results showed Bt corn does not affect pig performance and that Roundup Ready corn can be fed to young pigs without affecting nitrogen or energy digestibility, he says.