Non-GMO feed leads to healthier livestock

Non-GMO feed leads to healthier livestock
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A growing number of farmers say that the health of their animals improves dramatically when taken off genetically modified feed. (1)  Many farmers are starting to observe this after significant struggle with the health of their herds.

Improvements includes overall herd health – less use and need of antibiotics, increased conception rates, less deaths due to digestive problems, increase in milk production and increased size of litters in sows. (1)

A Danish Farmer, Ib Pederson, gained attention after he experienced devastating effects on his pigs from feeding them genetically modified soy grain. The results of eating the soy grain were primarily intestinal health issues but there were also deformities in the litters.  The problems stopped and the pigs became dramatically healthy again when he switched to non GMO feed. (2)

GM seed causes problems

Farmers in the mid west are also reporting that they have experienced such problems with genetically modified crops (seed) that they are now switching over and replacing it with regular conventional and organic seed crops.

Scott Odle, a farmer who was once aggressive in his use of genetically modified corn on his Indiana farm, found that his yields were much greater when he used non GMO seed. And, because GM seed is significantly higher in price than conventional seed, his costs went down and he ended up saving a lot of money.   The overall results were so apparent and dramatic that he eventually founded a non GMO seed company called Spectrum Seed and now sells high quality non GMO seed.  His sales are almost doubling every year. (3)

What about the supposed benefits of GM grain? And GM feed?

It seems that some farmers are ditching GM farming altogether and going back to the tried and true natural methods of farming. Better crop yields, better health, and less disease of animals are good reasons to stick with what works.

Troy Knoblock, who also raises hogs, switched from GMO feed to non-GMO feed a few years ago – not thinking there would really be a difference. He even says, ‘We laughed about it,’ when determining to go to a cheaper variety, which happened to be non-genetically modified. He had been keeping extensive records of his operation, and found that the money he was spending on drugs to treat ill hogs was cut in half shortly after going to non-GMO feed. He also saw fertility rates go up in his hogs – conception rates increased to almost 90% in many cases, and the size of the hog litters increased as well.

Knoblock says that switching to non-GMO feed has made his operation, “a lot more enjoyable.”

Because of this experience, the Iowa farmer has gradually been increasing his non-GMO crops, and this year 75% of his soybeans will be non-GMO. The seed is cheaper too – costing about $160 a bag, instead of $300 per bag for GMO seeds. Knoblock believes that there is interest in switching among other farmers, too.

Another farmer, Steve Tusa, raises beef cattle in Alpha, Minnesota. He has seen his cattle herds’ health improve drastically by switching to non-GMO feed. Cattle deaths due to digestive health issues or even pneumonia were cut in half once he switched. He grows his own 1400 acre non-GMO corn to use as feed for his cattle.

“The yields are good as or better than my neighbor’s traited (GM) corn,” Tusa says. He also says that there are a lot more farmers getting good results with non-GMO seed and feed, but they are hesitant to talk about it. He says that an atmosphere of fear has been generated by the GMO seed sellers, and many farmers are afraid to even try non-GMO seed, even though many people are experiencing great results using GMO-free varieties. Two farmers who were interviewed for the Non-GMO Report talked about their animals’ improved health using non-GMO feed, but didn’t want their names revealed.

 “We haven’t done a scientific study; it’s just something we’ve seen with our own eyes,” the farmer says.

Monsanto, Bayer, and Syngenta do like to use scare tactics to sell their poison, but the proof is in the pudding, and these farmers should soon be able to speak loud and proud of their successes using good old fashioned, heirloom seeds, instead of GMO, and hopefully their numbers will exponentially increase as word gets out.

Sources for this article include:

(1) www.non-gmoreport.com
(2) gmoinside.org
(3) organicconnectmag.com

Image source: https://flic.kr/p/7FEQHe

 

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