Is GMO Feed Harming Your Goats?

A recent study published in the Journal of Small Ruminant Research, the official journal of the International Goat Association, suggests that feeding GMO soy products to goats have negative effects on nutrient availability and milk components. The article (found here) is titled Genetically modified soybean in a goat diet: Influence on kid performance, and I have broken it down for you below.

What did they test?

60 female goats were fed either a conventional (NON-GMO) or a genetically modified soybean meal sixty days before kidding. Colostrum was collected and tested for protein, fat, and immunoglobulin G (IgG). Blood was also collected and tested for IgG. Initial kid body weights and carcass weights were also recorded.

What did they find out?

  Conventional/Non-GMO feed GMO feed
Kid Initial Body Weight Same Same
Kid Carcass Weight Higher Lower
Colostrum Protein Higher Lower
Colostrum Fat Higher Lower
Colostrum IgG Higher Lower
Kid Blood IgG Higher Lower


Why is this important?

Growth and body weight of all production animals is a very important part of our job as livestock producers and we all strive for healthy, growing animals. Good colostrum quality during the initial stages of life plays an important role in the kid’s survival and growth. Mother colostrum is very much dependent on the health and nutrient availability of the mother, and if the mother does not have adequate protein or fat, she will not transfer enough to her colostrum.

IgG is an important antibody crucial for the initiation of the immune system because, unlike humans, they are unable to receive immunity via the placenta before birth. Because of this, they rely heavily on the antibodies in their mother’s colostrum to establish their immune systems. In this study, we see that the mothers fed GMO feed produced less IgG in their colostrum, resulting in lower blood levels of IgG in the kid. This leaves the kid susceptible to disease and infection.

When mothers milk is affecting kid growth and health, this is bad for business and these results also raise questions on the quality of goat milk for human consumption as well the health effects on humans.

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