What are we feeding our cows?

The Straight Furrow is reporting today that Cargill are marketing cotton seed meal from Australia as a good feed for our dairy herds.

We have real concerns that this cotton seed is genetically engineered.

Feeding GE to our dairy herds, along with the environmentally damaging palm kernel, is a real risk to our 100% pure New Zealand marketing advantage.

The Government hasn’t got a vision for how to protect our advantage and is instead allowing imports of GE products and palm kernel to feed our dairy cows.

29 Comments Posted

  1. I liked how they said that it isn’t really a problem since Cottonseed doesn’t grow well in the cold… without thinking about the clear implication that every other damned shipment of the stuff to ANY port might contain the same sort of trap for the unthinking… which would be this government right enough.

    Watching the clowns without having to buy tickets to the circus. classic.

  2. You are joking aren’t you.

    Don’t you mean the , almost, non-existent Biosecurity measures, not surprisingly, allowed yet another hazardous organism to enter NZ.

    It is obvious in the ports that the high level of bio-security we had in the past is no longer apparent. Even, what should be routine precautions, like steam cleaning the outside of all import containers, has been discontinued.

  3. I take your point Nick, but I suspect that being able to use that label will become more important over time. One has to ask of course, whether it is the GM part or the pesticide part that is really the problem for some of the symptoms. Particularly given the development of the superweeds.

    As long as the organisms are not grown here, I’m happy enough to let the farmers screw up until they see the light.


  4. The problem with the supposed ‘GE Free’ marketing point, which has been referenced in previous comments, is that no-one really knows what it’s worth. Also, it’s undoubtedly greater for some products than others. Milk powder, for example, mostly gets buried in processed food products and the ‘GE Free’ label doesn’t mean anything (with the exception of perhaps infant formula). Honey on the other hand, or vegetable seed sales, rely on New Zealand’s status to capitalise on the high value markets.

  5. Clean and green is such a myth when most of our waterways are polluted, especially the lowland west coast waterways, not just from dairy but mining as well.

    NZ dairy is certainly not trying to feed the world but rather cash in on the expanding global bourgeoise. NZ has a pittance put aside for acts of charity with regards to malnutrition, NOTHING to do with the dairy industry.

  6. BJ

    We first have to protect our productive capability.

    Exactly! That means relying on tried and true methods of production and not using genetically engineered products that are detrimental to our clean and green branding.

  7. GE food has been shown to affect animals eating it, and GE material and toxins from herbicides used on them, to cross into the human blood system.
    GE food is meant to be labelled in NZ, but I cannot find evidence of compliance testing since 2003. Working on it 🙂

  8. The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

    Fonterra demonstrates the other side of that assertion.

    As long as it is grown somewhere else I accept it is their economic choice. Their mistake to make, but I want labels for the food we eat.

    As soon as those labels go on, the premium product will be more obvious to everyone and grass-fed milk will, if less abundant, be more profitable.

    …and of course we must NOT attempt to feed the world. We first have to protect our productive capability.

  9. When will the ge rygrass, being field-trialed in Australia, supported by Fonterra funding, arrive as seed for our eager dairy farmers to buy and spread across our rural landscape? Can’t be far away now! I reckon, in the lead-up to the election, so that National can lambaste the Luddite Greens for standing in the way of sensible progress (Feed the World, we must Feed the World!!)
    * Only I seem to be promulgating this idea – call it a conspiracy theory if you will 🙂

  10. In everything I read so far, the GM modified feed did not definitively affect organisms drinking/using the milk. Not clear what it does, but the effects on the Cows is pretty clearly not really that good.

    This is, as I said, a market driven decision of farmers who aren’t really doing themselves or us any favors. The premium that GMO free produce can and I am sure will, ultimately command, is being discarded because the are persuaded that their cows can produce more milk when fed certain mildly poisonous rubbish instead of grass.

    It is a correctable mistake. It is theirs to make. I imagine it will ultimately cost them… but there is no premium paid yet because the premium product is simply mixed with all the rest. Fonterra does not market a non-GM product. Why Not?

  11. Graeme Tucker, you show a serious lack of knowledge about GE. There have been significant increases in pesticide and herbicide toxins used in GE crops over and above what is/was used in conventionally grown crops of similar varieties. It is worth noting the increasing strength of the pesticides and herbicides used also, and the huge amount of toxins developed within the insect resistant plants.

    Thanks to Fin for pointing out that most Aussie cotton is GE. New Zealand has increased its soy imports from the USA significantly in recent years and that is also predominately GE. What farmers are being sold for animal feed from cotton and canola, are the cheap residues from seed oil extraction. This is from mostly GE crops or at least non-segregated crops. Aussie canola will have less GE component because GE canola is still in the minority there, but North American canola is primarily GE as is its soy and corn. New Zealand imports feed stock material from several countries, most of whom are significant GE crop growers. None of the GE material should contain viable seed or reproductive material as we have zero tolerance to GE seed imports.

  12. Gerrit

    I dont recall saying feeding cotton plant matter to cows was good, all I asked was if research showed it to be bad.

    Gossypol (also known as cottonseed injury), which is a toxic compound found in the cotton plant, varies in strength depending on how the plant is grown.

    Gossypol primarily affects the heart and liver. The reproductive tract, abomasum, and kidney are also affected. Simple stomached animals such as pigs have long been known to be susceptible to gossypol toxicity.

    Gossypol toxicity has been manifested as two types of clinical syndromes particularly in young animals. One syndrome of sudden death (resembling a heart attack) has frequently been reported in calves and lambs. The other syndrome is one of chronic labored breathing which resembles pneumonia. Due to heart failure, the lungs fill up with fluid and breathing becomes very difficult. Since it is not an infection, these animals do not respond to antibiotics.

    They have tried to genetically remove gossypol from cottonseed, but there have been no conclusive results. In fact a study in 2001 found that many genetically engineered brands had more gossypol content in comparison.

  13. AaronC

    YOur (NZL) education system has bred people to not question any claim.

    Thank goodness I had an Northern European education away from that system of blind obedience.

    Is asking for some reference to peer reviewed research such a big problem to you?

    Well I guess you are a product of your education if you do not seek out for yourself the facts of the matter.

    I dont recall saying feeding cotton plant matter to cows was good, all I asked was if research showed it to be bad.

    At least one educated person (hat tip fin) had the gumption to provide some back ground information for educated people to digest (pun intended).

    My education taught me that drinking petrol is bad for me so I dont.

    Your education system has taught you to jump to conclusions and draw stupid parallels and to pidgeon hole any opinion outside your narrow vision as being obnoxious.

    Rant over.

  14. Unbelievable! New Zealand can and should be the organic farmers of the world. Instead they risk international backlash from countries strong enough to stand up to the united states and the terrible food they inflict on us – and there really are only 2 of them. China and Russia

    Russia already banning GMO/GE corn. Milking cows feed it will be next. Bye bye fontera

  15. Gerrit, is drinking petrol bad for you and what are the risks? How can you be so sure? I guess you cannot, thus, it is safe to drink petrol.

    Sheesh. Our education system, really.

  16. Gerrit – I too would like to know the background of Steffan’s claim and hope that appears here as a supportive follow-up. My guess is though, that he won’t have cried ‘wolf’ without reasonable grounds for concern. That’s just my take on it, so I’m awaiting that information, rather than anguishing as to whether he’s jumped the gun.

  17. Right:

    Maybe its a good idea. Slowing down reproduction???


    …or not 🙂

    In any case, it is to the extent I can see it, a decision of the farmer but also something that needs to be on the label.


    I would say that this is one of those dumb ideas whose time is over… except for the cupidity and gullibility of some people who simply won’t believe that life isn’t constructed the same way as tinker-toys.

  18. “How bad is it and what are the risks?”

    “Feeding GE to our dairy herds… is a real risk to our 100% pure New Zealand marketing advantage.”

    It also increases fat and decreases protein of the milk (more unhealthy I would say), and all those people that Mr Tucker refered to, need protein the most.
    It also contains gossypol, that can be passed in the milk and is toxic if enough is ingested and decreases fertility (cockies won’t be told about this one).
    Perhaps Cadbury should stick to just ‘a glass of full cream milk’

  19. So what is the concern regarding feeding the cotton byproduct to cows?

    How bad is it and what are the risks?

    Would have thought that answers to those question would have been a given.

    Pendantic I know greenfly, but if you have a concern, back it up with facts to expound the message.

  20. Gerrit – Steffan wrote:

    “We have real concerns that this cotton seed is genetically engineered.”

    I kinda figured that the concerns they had were … real.

  21. Don’t know from the link about THIS seed, but a lot of Aussie stuff is already GM and the Soya meal they are already feeding the stock is almost certainly already GM.

    This is a GM we can “turn off” – provided we don’t plant the seeds here the risk of it “spreading” except for commercial issues, is minimal. I may not like it but it isn’t the introduction of a GM organism into NZ.

    Which doesn’t make me happier about any effects through to the beef and milk, or our clean-green image, but it isn’t as nasty a suggestion as growing the stuff here.

  22. So is it genetically modified or are your concerns baseless.

    Any links you care to publish that leads us to the research you used to come to the conclusion.

    You jump straight from “we have concerns” to “feeding GE to Dairy herda” and “import GE products”.

    Lest see some evidence on which you base your assumptions please.

    Or are you just scare mongering and political point scoring?

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