February 17, 2015 - Why U.S. Farmers Are Switching to Non-GMO Crops and Feed


Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - Many factors related to animal health and economics are leading farmers away from GMO agriculture. Here are some of them as reported by Iowa farmer and crop and livestock advisor Howard Vlieger:

  • Insect resistance and herbicide tolerance, which have led to insect-resistant pests and herbicide-resistant superweeds. Grain farmers are hesitant to spend an extra $30 to $60 per acre for traits that don't work.
  • The shift to non-GMO is supported by the increasing availability of more advanced genetics in non-GMO hybrids.
  • Some Midwest swine producers have experienced a great reduction in the incidence of PRRS (porcine respiratory reproductive syndrome) and PED (porcine epidemic diarrhea) after a couple of breeding cycles on non-GMO feed. One operation that switched to non-GMO feed had an 85% reduction in injectable antibiotic use along with improved performance.
  • Poultry producers have reported bird mortality rates being cut in half and the egg production increasing 3-5% by switching to non-GMO feed.
  • Death loss and need for antibiotic treatment in beef feedlots drops significantly with non-GMO feed.
  • Dairymen are seeing overall herd health improvement and feed consumption and milk production increase with non-GMO feed, along with a decrease in Botulism and other Clostridial problems.

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