Pearl Snaps

Stories of a cowgirl living life by her own lights

A load of bull…Tifton 85 Bermudagrass, GMOs, cyanide, and dead cows

52 Comments

by Jesse Bussard

It’s amazing how fast news travels and how easily facts can become misconstrued these days thanks to the internet. Waking up this morning I came across the following links here, here, here, and here stating that a GMO grass was emitting cyanide gas which caused the deaths of several cattle in Bastrop, TX.

After reading the articles, watching the video via KEYE TV, and doing some more research I’ve come to the conclusion that the claims of this being a case of big bad GMOs causing cattle deaths is a  load of bull. Instead this strange incident is something known as prussic acid poisoning.

Berumdagrass is a warm-season perennial forage grass that originated in Africa and was brought to the United States because of it’s suitability as a pasture and hay crop for the humid Southern states. Since its introduction 1750s, several superior hybrid varieties have been developed by methods of cross-breeding. You can read more about the early days of bermudagrass hybrid development and it’s history here, here, and here in a three part series courtesy of Georgia Forages.

KESE TV’s story leaves out the facts about the extensive research done by USDA and university forage experts to solve the mystery of the dying cattle and the fact that Tifton 85 bermudagrass is not a GMO , but instead a grass developed through tried-and-true, traditional plant breeding methods.

Dr. Larry Redmon, Texas state forage extension specialist, recently posted a statement on Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s blog setting the record straight:

Recently, 15 head of Corriente roping calves died as a result of prussic acid poisoning in Bastrop cattle in a clean field of Tifton 85 bermudagrass.  While this has never been reported before, results of analyses of rumen contents and the fresh forage confirmed death was due to prussic acid poisoning.  Forage specialists and researchers here and the vet diagnostic lab at first denied the possibility of this.  Even the researchers and breeders at USDA-ARS – Tifton, GA, doubted the findings, but after multiple site visits, multiple forage analyses, and DNA analysis of plants from several fields from several environments across Texas, we can come to only one conclusion – the death of the cattle was indeed due to prussic acid poisoning.

A little background is in order. Tifton 85 bermudagrass was released from the USDA-ARS station at Tifton, GA in 1992 by Dr. Glenn Burton, the same gentleman who gave us Coastal bermudagrass in 1943. One of the parents of Tifton 85, Tifton 68, is a stargrass. Stargrass is in the same genus as bermudagrass (Cynodon) but is a different species (nlemfuensis versus dactylon) than bermudagrass. Stargrass has a pretty high potential for prussic acid formation, depending on variety, but even with that being said, University of Florida researchers at the Ona, FL station have grazed stargrass since 1972 without a prussic acid incident.

The pasture where the cattle died had been severely drought stressed from last year’s unprecedented drought, and had Prowl H2O applied during the dormant season, a small amount of fertilizer applied in mid to late April, received approximately 5” of precipitation within the previous 30 days, and was at a hay harvest stage of growth. Thus, the pasture did not fit the typical young flush of growth following a drought-ending rain or young growth following a frost we typically associate with prussic acid formation.

The cattle were stressed, hungry, and thirsty when they had finished roping for the evening; this is obviously not the ideal condition for cattle to be in when turned into a pasture that had not been grazed this season. However, this is not the answer to the problem. There is, although it appears to be an isolated event, prussic acid potential, and therefore potential for cattle death when grazing Tifton 85 bermudagrass.

Some private individuals are beginning to issue their own notices at sale barns. This is not the type of announcement our producers need as all this does is alarm people and not inform them, so we plan to issue a news release in the near future explaining essentially what I have described in this message. BUT, I wanted you to know before the news release was issued. In fact, you will receive the news release first before we go to Ag Communications for public distribution.

What we wish to do is to advise, but not alarm those who currently have Tifton 85 pastures. Here are some important points for producers to consider:

  • Never turn hungry, stressed animals into a new pasture; allow them to fill on hay or in a familiar pasture first.
  • When turning cattle into a field of Tifton 85, pay close attention for the first hour or so to ensure cattle will not be in distress. If in doubt, obtain a fresh forage sample from the upper 1/3 of the canopy, place in a ziplock bag on ice, and get to the vet diagnostic lab immediately for analysis.
  • Make sure any Tifton 85 forage harvested for hay is properly field-cured before baling.
  • If producers currently have cattle on Tifton 85 pastures, it is unlikely they will experience problems.
  • Have producers report any unusual deaths to you (to obtain forage samples) and the local vet.
  • Tifton 85 bermudagrass still has the highest level of drought tolerance of all bermudagrass varieties and the highest level of animal performance of all warm-season perennial grasses.

Again, this situation has never been reported and the incident in Bastrop County is an isolated event…so far. I just wanted each of you to know about the situation so you would not be blindsided if someone in the county was to ask the question “What is this I hear about Tifton 85 bermudagrass…”

Next time, CBS News and KESE TV might want to tell the WHOLE story. I’m guessing the days of true journalism are behind us.

If you have any questions about bermudagrass or prussic acid poisoning in ruminants feel free to leave a comment. I’ll do my best to answer them.

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52 thoughts on “A load of bull…Tifton 85 Bermudagrass, GMOs, cyanide, and dead cows

  1. I have been doing my own research and found that this grass is a hybrid grass as you well know. This grass is man made. This is why they said it was gmo. They were right to use the term in my opinion because the grass under certain conditions creates a poison. The original grasses in the original form did not. I think we should look at the deaths of the cattle as what it is. It was caused by a man made grass not by nature. You can argue the facts as to how it was made or what is made of but the results were the same. Taking natural healthy grass and turning into poison same as gmo does.

    • Hybrid grasses also occur in nature. Hybrids and GMO are two separate things. Hybrid is similar to crossing a chihuahua and a poodle. GMO would be like introducing a gene in the poodle from a crocodile, plus adding a gene from a fruitfully into the poodle, then breeding the two.

    • I would actually be interested to know from a forage agronomist if this biochemical pathway doesn’t actually occur in non hybrid plants anyway. From my plant breeding and genetics courses I’m well aware of the fact that hybrid crosses introduces thousands of genes with unknown consequences, so perhaps its the case here. If this is the result of hybridization, then its another example of how the precision of biotechnology and genetic modification, and the increased regulatory scrutiny that we put GMOs through makes these modern techniques safer than traditional methods.

      “Characterisation of GM crops is a legal requirement, however. As a result GM crops are better characterised than ever before in the case of conventionally bred crops, including knowledge on the site and nature of the genetic modification.” (1)

      I’m not sure what we would eat if it weren’t for natural selection and hyrbridization. Its one thing to be critical of modern science and technologies, but I don’t know how we could set the clock back 3,000 years or more and consume only plants and animals in their natural ‘unselected’ state.

      1- European Commission (2010) A decade of EU-funded GMO research (2001–2010). Luxembourg, Belgium: Publications Office of the European Union.

    • Just about every plant you find in the grocery store is a man-made hybrid, even organically grown crops! Hybridization has been practiced for thousands of years.

    • In the end there is no true clear cut definition so I completely understand that many may not agree with my conclusion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the issue.

    • I totally agree with you. I also wonder how much of this poison makes it’s way into the meat of the cattle that we wind up eating. Is anyone testing the meat for prussic acid [cyanide] content ? And further, does the 15 year gap [of "safe" grazing] really represent a hitherto unrealized 15 year maturity cycle for that altered grass, that ends with the grass maturing into a poisonous state?

      • K. Thurman, first, there is no risk of the prussic acid ingested ending up in the meat of the animals. I have never heard of such an incident occurring and know that many other forage agronomists would tell you the same thing. And secondly, bermudagrass is a perennial grass. While this particular stand may have been established for a period of 15 years, a plant’s “maturity cycle” as you called it is very short (less than 1 yr) and last only for the growing season that the plant is active. Bermudagrass in particular is a warm season perennial meaning it’s growth cycle occurs during the warm months of the year. During the late fall/winter, warm season grasses are dormant. This was a one-time occurrence as far as I know. I believe it was more a circumstance of all the right conditions to cause this to occur. Nothing more, nothing less.

  2. I think the problem is more one of people who aren’t from and don’t know the country trying to write about something they didn’t understand that sounded scary to them. That some plants can kill cattle after a drought, or after a freeze, is fairly well-known if you live in a farming/ranching town.

    Not that you don’t have a point about journalism though…

  3. I concur my friend! Most ‘journalist’ wouldn’t know a bull from a butt hole! As far as Tifton 85 grass goes, it is not man made but is man manipulated. There’s a ton of difference in my book. I think anyone raising cattle is aware of the grasses they have and would take precautions to prevent death by prussic acid. I can’t speak much about the roped cattle deaths other than turning any stressed cattle out in a questionable pasture is plain asking for trouble.

  4. Thank you for posting this. My first reaction when I heard this story was “BS!” Unfortunately, there are many whose reaction will be “See! I *knew* those GMOs were poison!” and they’ll accept this story on face value. I suspect the authors of this fantasy (I don’t think the term “journalist” applies) belong to that group. The statement that the grass was “venting cyanide” is classic! What an image. After all, we all know that cyanide isn’t natural, right … ? If they fact-checked this piece, I wonder who they contacted? It wouldn’t take much of an effort to stumble upon the topic of prussic acid.

    • Actually Peter. most of us consumers who read the original article are simply very sad that these animals suffered …whatever the cause.

      Maybe in the future you all might want to express a bit of compassion in addition to your outrage at journalism or whatever else outrages you today..

      If you did this once in awhile you might not have to hire so many PR agencies to assure us of your compassion.

      • No one is saying that the animals didn’t suffer. It is unfortunate that this happened. Unfortunately however incidents like this sometimes happen in agriculture. Prussic acid poisoning is a one issue along with many others that livestock producers must deal with. While we try to do our best to ensure proper care for animals, sometimes it just isn’t enough and natural circumstances will cause things like this to happen. Yes, I feel the rancher was liable partly for what happened as he turned the cattle in on fresh, lush grass after being worked and they were hungry, probably eating too fast. But on the other hand there was no way he would have known at the time about the grass containing high levels of prussic acid as this normally isn’t a common occurrence in bermudagrass. Either way, mistakes happen and let’s hope that other livestock farmers learn from this event, get their forages tested, and do their best to prevent this from happening again.

      • Ya know, this bad journalism could have caused more harm to animals. As the cause was bogus, it could have misled people who knew their forage wasn’t GMO (which is everyone…). An actual evaluation of the situation with facts would have been possibly helpful. This was nothing of the sort.

      • I don’t believe I said “No one is saying that the animals didn’t suffer”.

        What I said is that in addition to whatever outrage you have toward what is obviously sophomoric reporting, someone might have offered some small acknowledgement of the animals’ suffering.

        They are God’s creatures, they serve us, they die for us, we live- many of us- in part because of them… I would hope that you believe they deserve even a small expression of sympathy.
        Or do you all believe that they are destined to die anyway, so why bother?

      • I realize I’m very late with this response; however, I think it is still worth making. Farmers and ranchers have layer upon layer of interest in our livestock. Whether our stock is purchased or born on our land, we are always involved and committed. Quite frankly, we don’t have to make public statements of concern as to the wellbeing (or in this case suffering) of the animals. We are linked to their lives. We’re the ones who actually find the animals when something horrible like this happens. We are also the ones who pull calves, treat sick animals, and have to make the decision as to when one needs to be put down. Come do what we do for a while and then see if you care to make that statement again.

  5. While Tifton 85 is NOT a genetically modified grass, it is STILL the result of a lab produced hybrid of a bunch of pointy headed lab coats thinking they can improve on something the Creator already called “Good”. What is so wrong with keeping things the way they are? The Bible is clear not to mix our animals and plants. Today you have blends that would NEVER have occurred naturally in nature and genetically modified tomato plants spliced with spider DNA.

    Whenever science declares an improvement on what the Father already has called, “good”, I step back and wait for the destruction that comes afterwards.

    • Thanks for sharing your comments. While I respect your opinions, I personally do not believe that God would not give us the knowledge to improve upon plants if he did not intend for us to use it. Plants and animals have evolved over the eons and whether you accept it or not, very little of the life on this planet is exactly the same as it was since the dawn of creation. Even in the wild, plants sometimes cross pollinate creating hybrid varieties. There isn’t much difference between natural selection and traditional plant breeding, other than one is determined by man on a shorter time scale. However, this is just my opinion. I will agree to respectfully disagree.

    • I think you should look into what our domesticated crops looked like before we domesticated them, and see how many crops of our diet have been changed by man.

      God’s corn had 6 kernels…that’s it, god’s avocados are smalls this the pits of the domesticated ones, most all domesticated fruits and berries are larger than their wild counterparts, carrots weren’t even orange until 300 years ago…., broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts used to be all the same plant o.O

      I could go on, but I’ll leave the fun of discovery for you to google and wiki domesticated plants and their ancestors yourself.

  6. While I do not in any way agree that actual GMO food is safe, I am chagrined with KEYE and CBS and Infowars.com for continuing to bill this incident as ‘cyanide’ related. However, in the KEYE piece it says that the veterinarian stated that his initial tests pointed to cyanide. To all of you are are so quick to use this incident to extol the ‘greatness’ of GMO crops, I submit that you are just as guilty of not ‘doing your homework’ as these journalists were in this incident. And, if this isn’t related to GMO grass or crops, then it really has nothing to do, one way or the other, with the GMO safety question.

    Steve – formerly from Austin

  7. Thanks Jessie! I couldn’t get the posted a statement on Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s blog (http://haysagriculture.blogspot.com/2012/06/potential-toxicity-issues-with-tifton.html) link to work though. Perhaps they took it down?

  8. Pingback: Texas cattle died while grazing – Prussic acid information « Agriculture Proud

  9. Prussic acid is a common name for hydrogen cyanide, chemical formula HCN. Ignore IUPAC naming standards and call it what you want, but the reporters were accurate when they labeled it as cyanide.

    • Yes, you are correct in your statement that prussic acid and hydrocyanic acid are one in the same. However, in the plant these compounds are in the form of cyanogenic glucosides. It is not until the plants are consumed and the glucoside bonds are broken down in the rumen (cow’s stomach) by enzymes that the cyanide component is released and absorbed into the animal’s bloodstream. It then blocks transfer of oxygen as oxygen has a high affinity for nitrogen containing compounds like cyanide (HCN) over hemoglobin. Essentially these animals suffocated to death.

      • how did they know that cyanide was present in nearby and neighboring fields when no other animals were reported dying.

      • I never said there was cyanide present in any other fields so I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have no way of knowing that as I was not there. If you have serious questions about this event contact Texas’s state forage extension specialist, Larry Redmon. You can find a link to his contact info in the post.

      • Well, no matter whether on calls these grasses “hybrids” or “GMOs”, I have definitely learned something today. I have a degree in Biosystems (i.e., “Ag”) Engineering, but I know more about the chemistry of soils and hydrology that I do about plant biochemistry. I never knew that Bermuda grass could accumulate prussic acid/hydrogen cyanide.

        Let me ask you and the forum respondants that are more versed in plant and animal biochemistry: Can this happen with other forms of Tif(ton) Bermuda, say Tif 419 that is very common throughout Texas and the South? And can this prussic acid buildup and enzymatic action take place in other animals’ stomachs, say dogs and cats (and heaven forbid, even children)? I would like to know more about this, and will check the TAMU Extension website and dig around a bit, unless you know some links that you could point me to easily. Thanks in advance!

      • I’m am not aware in this occurring in other bermudagrass varieties. From what I understand, stargrass, which was used to develop Tifton 85 has tendencies to develop prussic acid in stressed environmental situations. Prussic acid can also form in sorghums, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, and johnsongrass. It is also present in wilted wild cherry leaves. I’ve never heard of it being an issue in monogastric (one stomach) animals like horses, dogs, cats, etc. only in ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats. If you’d like to read more about prussic acid poisoning check out this link http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ansci/livestoc/v1150w.htm and here’s a post I did on it last year http://pearlsnapsponderings.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/forage-facts-prussic-acid-poisoning/

    • “Investigators are still trying to figure out what made the Tifton 85 grass, a Bermuda hybrid (not genetically modified,go rogue—whether it was associated with ongoing drought, or a sudden mutation—and testing grass elsewhere in the vicinity, which also is producing the gas, though it has not killed any cattle”

      • I should think that in the interest of discovery, this would be the operative concept…

  10. I am not a farmer, I make biodiesel plants, but I have to keep up with what is happening in your world because we use your crops as feedstock. We are seeing a lot of strange stories out there of GMOs producing toxins or emitting weed killers. It raises the question if the biodiesel is made from BT corn or Roundup soy, is the fuel poisonous? I was wondering how resistant the chemical compounds going into the transesterification process really are. We have sold plants in Europe, South America and the US but this something new and it scares me.

    • Is biodiesel that healthy to digest anyway?

      Bt works by binding to receptors that are only present in some insects stomachs, and you probably get more bt exposure from it’s use in organic crops. Roundup soy doesn’t make roundup if that’s what you were thinking, it’s resistant to it. Granted you’ll have more roundup used in the fields for it, as that’s what it’s for. But the toxicity of it is put at LD50 >5000 mg/kg for lab rats, which is about 20 times less toxic than most other herbicides that would have been used otherwise.

      What you should be asking is, why are you letting non-GMO crops or other herbicides and pesticides get a pass from your worries?

  11. Was their DNA tampered with by genetic engineering techniques? This is done in a lab and is not considered the same as cross-breeding to bring out certain characteristics. Given time, cross-breeding results could happen on their own but doing it yourself gives you desired results within a few growing cycles.

    A definition: Genetically modified foods (GM foods, or biotech foods) are foods derived from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food

  12. This is a range management issue and really has nothing to do with the fact that the grass was a hybrid.
    As far as dumping cattle on green lush grass that are hungry thirsty and stressed is the equivalent of witholding food and water from your 10 year old child and then letting them eat their fill in the candy store, and most cattlemen know that. I mean you don’t turn cattle on green spring grass here without high mag mineral supplement before and during or you risk the same deadly consequences from grass tetany. Being these were corrientees they are basically hobby livestock, even one of my hobbies but those involved may not have been savvy cattlemen per se???
    Hybrids have been around for a very long time. I have grown hybrid seed under contract for the seed companies and I can assure you this seed is not propagated in the lab. Without digging out my crop gentics text from college and going into the whole process it is just a way for 2 parent lines to be crossed. In this case it may be possible that the resulting hybrid grass expressed on the the traits of one of the parent lines. It is also possible that recovery from the drought may have something to do with it but my guess is the fretilizer, weed control and resulting bountiful rainfall made this pasture a prime target for bovine overconsumption. During drought conditions a whole new set of range management problems present all independant of genetic origin. Drought can cause many natural but unintended consequences including nitrate poisoning, contamination with very toxic fungi such as aflatoxin and vomitoxin.
    I am the owner operator of a 108 year old crop and livestock farm in Nebraska. I have a BS in Ag Mechanization and crop science minor and the benefit of years of experience both my own and that of my dad and grandad.

  13. Pingback: Tifton 85 Bermudagrass not GMO, cyanogenic compounds natural plant products « Pearl Snaps' Ponderings

  14. Great post! It’s good to see somebody is trying to educate rather than misinform!

  15. There is a BIG difference between hybrid and GMO. Hybrid is crossing plants or animals of the same species while GMO manipulates the genes of species that can not naturally interbreed.

    While I agree that this was a mistake in management, no one would expect prussic acid poisoning from any variety of coastal. It IS a common problem with other grasses commonly fed to cattle – especially Johnson grass. Animals should never be turned out on lush pastures while hungry and horses are introduced to lush pasture gradually to prevent founder and colic.

    Prussic acid poisoning DOES cause serious problems in horses, but they are not quite as susceptible by quantity as cattle are. It is common for ranchers to have Johnson grass tested to determine prussic acid content and for horse owners to ask for that type of testing.

    It is not advisable to ever feed haygrazer type hay to equines so I can’t speak to the other common types of hay fed to cattle but not horses. Many do feed Kline grass to horses but it has been shown to cause serious problems so that is not advisable – at least not as a regular diet.

  16. This technique, style, & overall manner of initial reporting to the public is a quite common approach by an uncommon majority of media sources in America in an attempt to get Bubba & Bubett down loaded with their version of what they proudly call news. Uncle Sammy downloads in the same manner when it works toward is need for news agendas also. It is nice to know, thanks to 4-H, FFA, & folks who appreciate GRASS & Range Management have a deep need historically to get as closer as possible to the academic study of the subject. The fact of the matter is Media & Roping Steer Cow Patties factored down.. spells Grass. Not Funny Brownies
    A most pleasing example of a most common technique to pass off fiction as fact to Bastrop TX Bubbas.
    I’m sure this has created some OD-Green blushing faces in Colorado River bend country over the real meaning of BS up close. Grass. . . . More valuable than GOLD at any price will forever be worthy of
    best attention & affections.

  17. Call it GE or Hybrid, there is a very strong point to take home here. What we are about to witness is the rise of severe protein disease in humans. The use of GMO’s in the human population is egregious and anyone with half a brain should see this coming. Man has created hybrids, GE’s and GMO’s without knowing how environmental stresses can trigger gene mutations, it doesn’t really matter if we’ve been doing it for the past 20/50/100 years, all it takes is sever stress to cause that jump. Just look at how much corn and soy is modified, look at the droughts right now, GOD only knows what genetic mutations are encoded in the crops that have survived. Sorry to rant, but I feel that this is highly important to discuss. Please, for the love of GOD, don’t eat GMO’s and tell all your friends and family not to either. This Tifton 85 situation is a warning sign to KNOW YOUR ENVIRONMENT. GOD BLESS.

    • Russell, thank you for your comments. I understand your concerns with GMO crops, however I have to disagree with you on your argument that they are unsafe. Also, saying that the incident with Tifton 85 is a “warning sign” seems a little ridiculous to me. Tifton 85 bermudagrass is a hybrid developed thru cross-pollination, not through genetic engineering. In addition, the production of prussic acid in plants is a natural physiological process that occurs in plants during drought stress. Many plants, many of which are not GMOs or hybrids, and not just this variety of bermudagrass, also produce prussic acid in severe stress situations. Stress induces this physiological process and many others in plants.

    • “Just look at how much corn and soy is modified.”

      True, corn before domestication had only about 6 kernels…thank god man worked to change that.

  18. Moving right along here we see that there is a clear distinctiion between hybridization and genetically modidied organisms. If you dick around with the genome you are not hybridizing you are Frankensteining and there will be adverse effects form BT destroying cerebral cortex to roundup producing corn creating cell stress in children.

    Ifyou parse it closely enough you deflect the argument from what killed the cattle to pulling a blanket over what may become corporate murder in Germany and Argentina. Who knows, maybe Tifton 85 is not a genocide weapon, but jumping into complex chemical arguments to laser in on one incident of GMO poisoning and creating enough FUD to cover the real problems that not labeling stuff correctly is already causing.

    Tifton 85 (Burton et al., 1993) is a hybrid of Tifton 68 (Burton and Monson, 1984) and PI 290884 (G# 32 and 33). Tifton 85 was released based on yield and ruminant digestibility characteristics similar to Tifton 68 but with much greater cold tolerance (from PI 290884). The relatively high genetic distance between Tifton 85 and PI 290884 supports the observed wide phenotypic difference except for cold tolerance.’

    http://naldc.nal.usd…nload/33304/PDF (5)

    The last sentence indicates that the original Tifton 85 was GM.

    ‘The Tifton 68 is a tropical forage grass ob-taken from genetic improvements made ​​to the genus Cynodon at the universities of Georgia and Florida, USA (Hill et al., 1996; Mislevy & Pate, 1996). ‘
    http://translate.goo…ved=0CG0Q7gEwBw (6)

  19. No cows that I know of in my area of TX (Lavaca county) aren’t hybrids except a few very small herds of angus or Simmental or Brahman. Beef master, Brangus, and the myriad of F1 varieties are hybrids between Bos indicus and other species. Hybrids aren’t a bad thing. Those that fear hybrids probably shouldn’t eat any meat or vegetables or fruit. I have Tifton 85 pastures and it is a miracle grass. Even the dog nibbles on it. High protein, drought tolerant, and easy to establish, I think Dr. Burton deserves a Nobel prize for his incredible creations. Fear such as this is unfounded. DDT was banned conveniently after we eradicated malaria here. Rachel Carson deserves contempt for the number of people her fear mongering has killed in Africa and Asia. Dr. Burton and Dr. Borlaug (who did win the Nobel prize) deserve admiration for saving millions of lives or in Borlaug’s case- a billion lives saved- like DDT.

    • Though I agree with you on 95% one has to add the caveat that DDT did severely threaten to drive a key predator and national symbol, the bald eagle, to extinction because of it’s effects of their eggs.

  20. Im just getting into all this GMO stuff and have been researching like crazy since I do live in California and want to be sure of what Im saying no to (also my family has a vested interest in this as they are cattle ranchers for many years like 100 years to be exact) This is a genetically modified grass, there is no way around this argument. The FDA’s (government) play on words and circumventing truth is what is giving people problems….Im not a genius by any means but I do know how to research and Im also fair minded I will look at both positive and negative aspects of anything Im researching to find the real truth.
    With that being said heres the problem I come across in research….The grasses most people use are NOT native to the US which presents a few problems. Africa is where many of these grasses originate from and are known to produce this type of poisoning, now if you have ever watched any type of nature show on TV then you understand the animals from these regions and know that these animals usually avoid these grasses at certain times through experience (thats right folks animals are intelligent) anyhooo this is where the problem starts, scientists (uh oh scientists and plant life that can not be a good thing :P) take into consideration from observing growing conditions, pests and some other things I can not even start to go into, they then begin the process of genetically modifying the DNA of the original plant and cross it with another. I Know! The first term that comes to mind is for some of us Cross Pollination or there abouts right? Well I did at least. But its not. If a cat and a dog cant mate and give birth, 2 differing plant species can not either its impossible right? Obviously not for a geneticist (Really Im starting to hate that word) “Geneticist”….wait lets say that one more time (go ‘head Ill wait) Now say “Genetically modified” cause thats what a Geneticist does for a living.
    So lets just go over these simple facts, Non Native plant life, Geneticists, unfavorable growing conditions, then put our cattle in the mix and what you get is dead cattle.They do not have life experience with this plant life nor do we.
    They dont (or do they?) have anything in the way of evidence to prove the grass has anything to do with cattle deaths….uh huh. Coming from a long line of folks who don exactly like the odoriferous smell of BS from the man Id say 1+1=2
    Not to mention this and others have a sterile variety of seed….The last time I looked God didnt populate this world with sterile plant life otherwise I think this world would look more like the surface of the moon right?

  21. I just want to know this Bermuda grass known as Druva in India has a lot of therepeutic use.They make a paste of it and mix it with water and drink. https://www.planetherbs.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=bermuda-grass-durva-the-second-holiest-herb-the-number-one-weed.html&Itemid=141..is it safe here in the US to grow a small patch and to drink it.where to get the original seed and not GM or hybrid.

  22. Thanks so much for taking the time to fully address this story. It found it’s way just today onto a FB group post and had us all speculating and researching. Thanks again.

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