Genetically-modified corn hybrids that are Roundup Ready and resistant to Western corn rootworm show no difference in milk yield or components, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of Dairy Science.
The research involved 30 Holsteins. “Yields of milk, 4% fat-corrected milk, energy corrected milk, solids corrected milk and concentrations and yields of milk fat, milk protein, milk solids and milk lactose were not significantly different between treatments,” report researchers from Kansas State University and Pioneer Hi-Bred.
Milk production efficiency, at 1.48 to 1.50, did not differ statistically. “These data indicate that the nutritional value for milk production was not different,” add the researchers.
Cows were fed identical levels of conventional and GMO-hybrid in the form of corn silage and corn grain. Milk production per day averaged 96 lb. on the conventional diet and 95 lb. on the GMO hybrids, but were not statistically different. Milk urea nitrogen, somatic cell counts, body weight and body condition score also were not statistically different.
The GMO hybrid forage had a slightly higher starch concentration than the control hybrid. Cows on the GMO forage had slight lower dry matter intake, but the higher starch concentration might be the reason milk production was similar.
“Using genetic modification, efficiency of crop production can be improved through decreasing the adverse effects of insect and weed pests without any detectable effect on the productive performance of lactating dairy cows,” report the researchers.