Pros and cons of feeding genetically modified corn

Producer Question from 2010

Q:  How are cows physically effected by the genetically modified corn? What are the pros and cons of feeding them genetically modified corn versus an organic diet? How is the meat and dairy effected by the genetically modified corn and what are the pros and cons? (November 19, 2010)


A:  We have assessed feeding of GMO grain and grain residue to beef cattle in a few studies that are available online. These are attached as journal articles. To answer your question, the GMO grain and stalks appear to be nutritionally equivalent. It is important that any comparisons are made to a hybrid that has the same genetic background except for the GMO traits.

Therefore, with the GMO that are available today, these only have agronomic (albeit important) postives or advantages. There is no effect on cattle or end use. If specific GMO are developed with nutritionally enhanced traits, then that could change. That is not available today, though. There are no cons in terms of crop or livestock production. The cons would all be consumer perception.

There are several articles that are related to your question.

  • J Animal Science 2003.81:2600-2608
  • J Animal Science 2005.83:2829-2834
  • The Professional Animal Scientist 2008 24:572-577

Dr. Galen Erickson Dr. Galen Erickson, Associate Professor of Animal Science
Animal Science, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska