Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2003. 81:2600–2608. Copyright © 2003 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Three experiments were conducted to compare the feeding value of genetically enhanced corn (Roundup Ready corn events GA21 and nk603) with nontransgenic hybrids. The four treatments included two separate reference hybrids (REF), the near-isogenic control hybrid (CON), and the genetically enhanced corn (RR), resulting in two preplanned comparisons of CON vs. RR and RR vs. the average of REF. In Exp. 1 (RR event GA21), 175 steers (BW = 427 kg) were fed in 25 pens with seven pens per corn hybrid, except CON, which contained four pens due to limited quantities of that hybrid. In Exp. 2 (RR event nk603), 196 steers (BW = &#;420 kg) were fed in 28 pens with seven pens per corn. In Exp. 3 (RR event nk603), 200 steers were fed in 20 pens, with a similar treatment design to Exp. 2 and five pens per corn. All experiments were conducted as completely randomized designs and utilized corn produced at University of Illinois (Exp. 1 and 2) and University of Nebraska (Exp. 3) research farms under identity-preserved protocols. In all experiments, DMI, ADG, and feed efficiency were similar (P > 0.30) between RR and REF. In Exp. 1 and Exp. 2, RR was not different (P > 0.25) than CON for growth performance. In Exp. 3, RR was not different from CON for ADG and DMI (P > 0.15) or for feed efficiency (P = 0.08). No differences were observed between RR and CON or RR and REF for carcass weight, longissimus dorsi area, and marbling scores in any of the experiments. Subtle differences were observed between RR and either CON or REF for fat depth in each experiment; however, cattle fed RR were not consistently greater and varied from either the CON or the REF (but not both contrasts) within an experiment. Based on these results, insertion of glyphosate- tolerant genes had no significant effect on nutritive quality of corn. Performance and carcass characteristics were not influenced, which suggests that Roundup Ready corn is similar to conventional, nontransgenic corn when fed to finishing feedlot cattle.