Tifton 85 Bermuda Grass: The Hybrid/GMO Semantics

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The furor over GMO foods and other megolamaniac human endeavors such as the atrocities of pharmacology (but that's another story) has been gaining steam with thousands more joining forces against corporations such as Monsanto and Syngenta. The topic of GMO's have begun dominating headlines and the pros and cons are diligently debated by those who claim to either be experts on the subjects and those who claim their rights as consumers. The recently released story about the herd of cattle dying from a GMO grass has served to add fuel to the fire.

For those who aren't up to date on the subject, 15 cattle died from cyanide poisoning produced by a genetically engineered grass called Tifton 85 Bermuda grass. After growing and being used for 15 years on the ranch in question, the grass suddenly began producing cyanide which killed 15 of the 18 cattle turned out to pasture in the field. Other farmers, alarmed at the news, were quick to have their own fields of the modified grass tested for the poison, and while it was discovered in several specimens, there have not been any other cattle deaths reported....mainly because no one is now releasing their cattle into fields planted with it.

The breaking story immediately amassed outcries from environmentalists and other groups concerned about the effects of GMO's in relation to human health consequences. The “I told you so's” have become a mantra and fear is mounting about the implications regarding the questionable safety of GMO's in the food chain. One of the big questions hanging unanswered in the air is what might result if cattle poisoned by cyanide should make it to the slaughterhouse for distribution to the dinner table of families across the country.

I'll admit that when I first read the story, I heard my own internal alarms sounding. They weren't shrilling in my head like a fire siren, but they certainly were loud enough to cause a rapid Googling session in search of information that would satisfy my own questions. As usual, I couldn't help but be amazed at the crazy illogical comments and attempted pacifist explanations that seem to litter the internet whenever something like this breaks in the news.

For starters, there were plenty of industry specialists and experts who cried foul because according to them, Tifton 85 is NOT a GMO, but a hybrid. By that, they mean it was done without the genetic manipulation of splicing genes into the base plant. “No, no,” they ascertain, “it's simply the same natural hybridization techniques being used for centuries by farmers.”

Dr. Larry Redmon, Forage Specialist

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Damage Control

Whether something is called a GMO or it's called a hybrid is simply semantics. No matter how it's sliced (pardon the pun), what is happening is an intentional manipulation of Mother Nature. In our unquenchable thirst for power and money, the human race has become pompous and mistakenly convinced that we can control the monsters we create, that we have the ability to direct nature and shape our world to our own selfish perception of what is good for the rest of the world. And time after time, Mother Nature rises up to strike a retaliatory blow to remind us that we are not as omnipotent as we think. Instead of taking these reminders as the fair warnings they represent, the producers of such products blow them off as minor challenges to be overcome and then attempt to convince their detractors that they know more because they are more educated in the field of study, therefore true experts.

Two days after the story broke, news sites were issuing detractions and making corrections regarding the deaths of the cattle. Apparently, they did not die from cyanide poisoning, but from prussic acid poisoning. Ahem! Prussic acid poisoning is hydrogen cyanide poisoning...same thing and another example of semantics. A second correction addressed the “mistaken” claim that the grass was genetically modified, correcting it to being a hybrid. These corrections are clearly a sign that the power machines are at work doing damage control.

Enter the esteemed Dr. Larry Redmon, State Forage Specialist, who quickly posted this statement on the Texas AgriLife Extension Service blog:

“... 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...”

Pardon me, Dr. Redmon, if I gaze at you with a somewhat skeptical eye. Your job is to help farmers to increase profits, not to protect human beings from the harmful effects of farming practices.

The fact that his statement uses the word “potential” several times implies that cyanide poisoning is only possible and not necessarily fact, when after a number of tests on the grass were performed and the site visited several times, it was established that cyanide was the culprit. Dr. Redmon is a professor at Texas A&M where his profile states that he identifies and evaluates management strategies that allow beef cattle producers to reduce costs associated with pasture management, which increases the potential for positive cash flow. In other words, how to make the most money from feeding strategies. The profile also informs us that he conducts various educational programs state-wide in response to requests made by commodity groups and the industry. Hmmm.....

http://soilcrop.tamu.edu/professors/redmon/profile.htm

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The "Cash Cow"

Cows are big business. Of the one million beef cattle operations in the United States, more than 130,000 are located in Texas. Of the 24 billion pounds of beef generated, Texas produces 7.4 billion. Of the 96 million cattle in the US, Texas operations own the most at a whopping 13.86 million, more than double the amount of the second place holder, Kansas. Beef cattle production represents the largest single segment of agriculture. Cattle produce the highest cash receipts of the top five agricultural commodities in the US at $49.1 billion, also more than double the receipts of the second place holder, dairy products.

Due to “improvements” in feeding systems, and of course the ever increasing use of growth hormones, the average beef production per cow has increased from 400 lbs in the mid-1960s to 600 lbs in the present. Then there's the beef by-products which allow for 99% of every cow to be used (even more cash involved), and I'm not just talking about leather goods such as luggage and shoes.

By-products are used in tires, car polishes, wax, and brake fluid. They're used in ice cream, yogurt, cake mixes, pasta, and margarine, to name a few foods. They're used in candles, pet foods, soap, paints, paper, perfumes, mouthwash and cosmetics, with many more non-edible uses. By far, the most alarming use of beef by-products has to do with the pharmaceutical industry.

That's right, folks, the big bad pharmacology industry has been in bed with the beef industry for years. These are two huge industries throwing money at our government representatives in order to assure their continued dominance over the population. The combined lobbying power is astronomical. Get ready for some heavy resistance to any hint that hybrid feeding systems may be a threat to human health. I use the term “hybrid” loosely since it's essentially the same as a GMO, but those so labeled have already been under attack. This new front is going to create quite a stir and garner even more attention on the issue.

When it comes to the medical uses for beef by-products, there seems to be some conflict. For instance, the pancreas of a cow is used for the insulin (treating diabetes and high blood sugar), chymotrypsin which promotes burn and wound healing, pancreatin for acids in digesting food, and glucagon (treating hypoglycemia or low blood sugar). The conflict here stems from the questions raised in recent years regarding the possibility that growth hormones injected into beef cows are a culprit contributing to the cause of obesity, diabetes, and other thyroid conditions. Just an FYI: low exposure to cyanide over the long term causes thyroid based illnesses. And while cyanide does NOT accumulate in mammals, we still don't know what may be the results of eating the meat from a cow with cyanide in it's system when it's slaughtered for sale.

There are also byproducts from the blood, bones, pituitary glands, and livers used in the medical field. They are used to regulate blood pressure, control renal functions and in treatment of allergies and arthritis. Interesting enough, it's been discovered that certain types of blood pressure medications cause diabetes. Wonder if those medications have beef byproducts used in their manufacture?

With so much at stake, it's no wonder the common consumer is being mislead and fed as much disinformation as we will swallow with great exertion expended to force feed us even more. In reading the numerous articles littering the internet and other news media, I couldn't help but to be drawn into the comment sections. There was an abundance of admonitions for folks to go organic, to insist on grass fed beef, etc. Excuse me, but the dead cattle are dead as a result of being grass fed, and there is no stipulation that organic beef isn't eating the same types of “hybrid” grasses. In fact, to be labeled organic, the cattle must be fed 100% organic feed.

Now that may pose a problem. For a plant to be considered organic, it must be grown without any use of chemicals...no pesticides, only natural fertilizers, no chemical weed killers, etc. So what about the hybrids/GMO's? If the crops are raised in a strictly organic environment, is it permissible to create a blend of feed from them for the animals intended for organic labeling? Exactly how truly organic is the food labeled as such?

Now back to the Tifton 85 Bermudagrass. It's never been known to produce cyanide gas before now. Well that may be, but many plants produce some level of cyanide at different stages of growth, and these plants aren't necessarily hybrid or GMO. However, we need to acknowledge the very real fact that there is no way to know all possible long-term results of cross breeding such plants, or any other, for that matter. Even if long term testing is conducted, can we in total honesty lay claim to being able to foresee and test on all the possibilities?


The Government, Researcher, Monsanto Triangle

Apparently, the esteemed Dr. Larry Redmon was able to see some rather negative possibilities and even wrote a document titled, “Potential Toxicity Issues with Tifton 85 Bermuda grass” that used to appear on the Hays County Agriculture and Natural Resources webpage. It was pulled early this morning (June 26, 2012). Currently the page now reads, “Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist.” Hmmmm...... There goes that skeptical eye, blinking a bit more rapidly.

The main theory regarding an explanation is that the long suffered drought in Texas was the trigger that kicked off the cyanide production. I'm sure there will be many more to come, but I'm going to jump the gun a little and throw out another possibility. You readers can decide for yourselves whether the possibility is likely or very slim.

In 2007 a particular GMO experiment was ended. Is it possible that genetic pollution mutated the grass in question? It would seem highly unlikely an experiment conducted as far away as Florida would have repercussions in Texas involving a field of grass that was planted 15 years ago. However, the experiment contains some very interesting statements. Apparently, the US government issued a special grant for Project # FLA-AGR-04224 which began on 9/15/2004 and ended 9/14/2007. The sponsoring institution for the project was NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture). It was instigated and run by the University of Florida.

Stated under GOALS/OBJECTIVES: “...We propose to generate transgenic bermudagrass and seashore paspalum...” Stated under the heading Non Technical Summary: “Pesticide application in warm-season turf and forage grasses is cost intensive and a potential hazard for health and the environment. The purpose of this project is to reduce pesticide applications by developing transgenic turf and forage grasses, which produce insecticidal cry-proteins in their leaves. The transgenic grasses will also be evaluated for resistance to the insect pest fall armyworm.”

http://www.reeis.usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/0201085-molecular-improvement-for-insect-resistance-in-turf-and-forage-grasses.html

I looked up NIFA and read through the webpage. Interestingly enough, the posted information claims that “The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), part of the executive branch of the Federal Government. Congress created NIFA through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 .” I'm not sure how they could only have been created in 2008 if they were responsible for sponsoring a project that began in 2004 and ended a year before their creation.

http://www.csrees.usda.gov/about/background.html

The project director is listed as one M. Gallo-Meagher. This same name appears on a paper written about blight and kernel discoloration in barley. A co-writer for the paper is R.C. De la Pena whose address is listed as Monsanto Company, St. Louis, MO 63198, USA. Gallo-Meagher is identified as being with the Agronomy Department, University of Florida. The paper in question was published 13 years ago. Gallo-Meagher has also co-authored a number of publications with J.E. Irvine, of Texas A&M agricultural research center. There's another Hmmmmm....

Monsanto has had quite a history with the University of Florida. Now some might say that it's to be expected considering Monsanto's business is biotechnology in agriculture. But I question just how close and intertwined are the interests of NIFA, UF and Monsanto, who has endowed a professorship at the university for the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. So appreciative is the university, that they invited Monsanto to feature its exhibition and brand in the middle of their campus back in February. The title of the mobile exhibition was “America's Farmers,” which Monsanto surely doesn't represent with their ruthless tactics and shameless attacks on small farmers over the encroachment of GMO crops into non-GMO fields. It might also interest you to know that the University of Florida did much of the research on BGH (hormone that stimulates milk production in cows) and has received $millions in gifts and grants from Monsanto who pushes the drug Prosilac (hormone in question).

I predict we haven't seen the end of this, and I guarantee there's much more to be discovered if we are diligent enough to keep demanding logical answers that make sense.

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Comments 16 comments

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Terri...First of all.....where have you been hiding? Or I have just been sleeping? Good to see you again.

Why must we meet over such disturbing & alarming topics? As always, your presentation is masterfully written to inform and educate the masses.

For someone who rarely researches this topic (shame on me) you generouly provide me with a plethora of the vital facts so necessary to fully understand "what we are being fed," both literally and theoretically.

I thank you for this and look forward to my continuing education per Terri. Voted up useful and interesting


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Well, hello again. I haven't really been hiding but I've been taking care of some family issues. I'm hoping to be able to get a lot written and posted in the next few weeks, but you just never know...

I thank you for your effusive praise, Lord knows I spent hours researching and reading...took me two days to feel satisfied I couldn't discover anymore at this time. I have to admit I'm more than a little uneasy regarding the triangle of involvement between NIFA, Monsanto, and UF, not to mention the Texas A&M peer of Gallo-Meagher. The old adage is, "where there's smoke, there's usually fire" but in these types of issues it usually turns out to be a bonfire they're attempting to hide.

Thanks for commenting!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Yes indeed, good to see you Terri. Ice cream and semantics- what a pair. And what an important info packed article for anyone who cares to know all sides of the story; so thanks a mil for all the research and the posting- and always an eye-opener from your active mind and caring heart.


WildRoseBeef profile image

WildRoseBeef 4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

Quite the hub Terri, though I was hoping you would mention a little more on the management portion of this news article over the facts and figures you mentioned.

From the news article, these cattle weren't exactly "grass-fed" per se, they were roping heifers and steers that I assume had either been kept in a dry lot for most of the year and/or worked and used for roping and thus stressed and hungry before being turned out to pasture that contained this grass. The pasture, as you mentioned, had been drought-stressed, but it was also high-quality and nutritious with "high protein" and because of this drought stress coupled with the stress and hunger the animals had been under, the prussic acid poisoning/cyanide gas was enough to kill them. I don't know if you would see this as mere semantics, but in my opinion, the problem that happened with this whole thing is not the fact this grass is a genetically-modified organism or not, but rather these animals died due to mismanagement. The owner shouldn't have been so stupid and selfish to turn these animals out on this pasture in the first place, regardless if this grass had not been known to produce prussic acid/cyanide or not!! It's still a type of Bermuda grass, thus making it prone to such anti-quality factors as prussic acid poisoning, like all other cultivars/species of Bermuda have also been known to produce.

SO, what a mess this has caused. And I have to agree with you: I think this recent news story has opened a can of worms.

One thing in your hub I don't agree with is your statement about the "ever-increasing use of growth hormones" in the beef industry since the 1960s. I don't know if you know much about the history of how the beef cattle industry has changed since then, but the main reason that average weaning weights have changed from 400 lbs to 600 lbs (or more) is NOT due to growth hormones in cows (beef cows, by that I mean mature females, not the colloquial term for cows, never need to be injected with BGH anyway), but greater selection (via genetics) for bigger calves, more growth, and faster growth rates. Of course this can be achieved by GH implants, but it's not the only reason, and many ranches who raise their animals with no growth hormones or antibiotics choose to target genetics for developing cattle to sell as natural beef, not implant growth hormones.

Otherwise, it's a great hub, very interesting and some neat insights. :)


WildRoseBeef profile image

WildRoseBeef 4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

"In other words, how to make the most money from feeding strategies."

No, feeding is different from grazing cattle on pasture. Pasture management and feeding management are two different things which should not be confused with the other.

"Pardon me, Dr. Redmon, if I gaze at you with a somewhat skeptical eye. Your job is to help farmers to increase profits, not to protect human beings from the harmful effects of farming practices."

This statement I find very degrading and irksome. I don't mean to defend Dr. Redmon but your skepticism went over the line for me. I read the link to the profile and what he teaches is the exact opposite of what you state. Do you really think that helping beef producers (or as you call them, "farmers") take a better stand at looking after the environment by increasing soil quality or improving soil conditions, reducing the use of man-made petroleum-based fertilizers, and also if I read right, reducing the use of pesticides for every little weed that pops up are harmful effects of farming practices?? Either you didn't read the profile right or you are quite biased in what you've been researching. I know with these hubs an author is allowed to be as biased as he/she wants, but this article, though interesting, seems to be one that opposes agriculture all together and the farming practices that are used to improve the land, not make it harmful for other non-farming folks like yourself, I assume, or to be targeted with such negativity.

And a hybrid is not the same as a GMO. A GMO is an organism that has been altered at the cellular level with some little genes of some totally unrelated organism put in to increase productivity, and this is done in a laboratory. Hybrid is merely crossing two plant or animal species to get something different OUT of the lab, like crossing a mare and a jack donkey to get a mule, a bison and a beef cow to get a beefalo, a tiger and a lion to get a liger, or barley and rye to get triticale. Is tritcale, a mule, a liger and a beefalo all GMOs? No. So neither is Tifton 85! Tifton 85 is a result of crossing Bermudagrass with star grass. Thus there is no genetic manipulation with hybrids as there is with GMOs.

The Pharmaceutical industry has been tied with not just the beef industry but all other livestock industries as well: hogs, poultry, sheep, goats, dairy cattle, etc. Native Americans have been using parts of animals for medicine way before the word "pharmaceutical" was founded, so I don't know why you are against this.

"These are two huge industries throwing money at our government representatives in order to assure their continued dominance over the population. The combined lobbying power is astronomical."

Hate to tell you this but the pharmacology industry has far greater "lobbying power" over the general population than the beef industry does. The beef industry is actually dominated by the consumer, not vice versa. People like you love to eat beef (I assume you do like to have a hamburger now and then, eh?), and are the driving force and dominant power that keeps the beef industry going like it is. It's also the target of such negativity from people like you who need to eat and don't know much about agriculture (which is really unfortunate) and keep saying that it's a menace to society or the environment or whatever. And yet many people keep on eating and eating and eating.

Maybe that's not the point you're trying to iterate, but that's how I see it.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Oh wonderful. Isn't it grand? The term "GMO" is accursed as it should be...so now we're calling it "hybrid."

I've absolutely learned something here. I had absolutely no idea they were destroying the integrity of grass now....It is beyond obvious that destroying the Earth is the goal...


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

An interesting article, but I'm not so sure about the reliability of someone who equates GMO technology with hybridization. I live close to the experiment station where the grass was developed. The types of grasses developed here are used all over the world for all sorts of things, and are especially famous for golf course grasses used for fairway and putting surfaces. I also am familiar with some employees who either work there or have worked there.

But one question, why would they knowingly try to sell a product with known bad effects? They run extensive tests on these grasses before putting them on the market. It would be foolish to push a product which can easily be replaced by another species of grass from the University of Georgia funded facility. it's not as if they are doing it to gain mass profits only. I'll need to look at this a bit more before buying into this scenario. But still, something to think about.

SSSSS


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 4 years ago from Sacramento, California

This is really a great article. I read the original news article about these cattle yesterday, but it did not name this a GMO. I really have to applaud you for your work and research on this article. Wish that mainstream news was this ethical in their work. Voted up and beyond awesome.


Living Well Now profile image

Living Well Now 4 years ago from Near Indianapolis

Cattle have been dying from cyanide poisoning caused by Sudan grass for years. Several plants, such as Oleander and yew, are very toxic to cattle. This is the first case of Bermuda grass poisoning caused by Tifton 85 after being on the market for 20 years. No other cases of cyanide poisoning have been reported from ranchers who grow Tifton 85 for their cattle.

By far and away the majority of growth hormones ingested by humans from the consumption of meat and dairy are naturally produced by the animals themselves, and aren't man-made. 99.9% of all plant toxins ingested are those produced by the plants themselves. They're the enzymes many people think cure disease even though there's no supporting evidence.

Organic doesn't mean safer and the USDA states as much. The reason the USDA organic certification process exists is to standardize the claims of growers and food producers who were cashing in on the growing organic movement by claiming their product was "organic". Organic farmers use pesticides all the time, and some of these pesticides are more deadly than synthetic pesticides (one of the reasons why synthetic pesticides were developed in the first place). Rotenone is a common "natural" pesticide used by organic growers. It's much more toxic to the environment than carbaryl (Sevin), a synthetic alternative.


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 4 years ago from Sacramento, California

@ Living Well Now: ...and yet the Bt toxin in GMO foods has been passed from mother to fetus... According to the news article yesterday... this is NOT the first case of cattle dying after ingesting Tifton 85... it is just the largest scale of death attributed to the grass. Ranchers are not in the habbit of testing every death for cause... There is a moral and ethical difference between a plant that produces the toxin naturally or if the plant is engineered to produce the toxin. When you say organic producer I think Organic Commercial Farms... not specifically private gardens. I do however, apprceciate your comment on why organic is not necessarily organic....


Living Well Now profile image

Living Well Now 4 years ago from Near Indianapolis

Bt is only toxic to a limited number of insect larvae. It isn't toxic to adult insects, mammals, fish or birds. It's a protein. Organic growers spray their crops with Bt because it's an approved pesticide for growing organically! So if you buy "organic" sweet corn it will likely contain pesticide residues - probably even residue from Bt. And it won't affect your baby.

Bt crops were engineered so growers could use less pesticides and improve yields. Without modern agricultural practices like hybridization and genetic engineering, billions of people would starve. The real moral dilemma is railing against technologies that help people.


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 4 years ago from Sacramento, California

except that from the GMO food producers... Bt proteins were supposed to dissipate during digestion... the fetal blood tests prove they do not... when organic or man made organic chemicals do not behave as they were described, then they need to be tested further before unleashing them onto the world. Billions of peple would NOT starve if plants remained as originally designed. Starvation is a symptom of politics and governement not food shortages.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

First and foremost...a thank you to all for the well thought out responses to a question that will continue to heat up. I appreciate the different perspectives and opinions that have come forward. I suppose it's all a matter of which sources of our information we personally feel have the most integrity.

@Randy Godwin: In regards to hybridization vs. GMO...I understand that there are differences and that most people think of hybridization as "natural." There's nothing natural about it if it doesn't occur solely as a result of Mother Nature. If results are forced by human meddling, it's not natural. It's human manipulation. You know, whether we beat our clothes against a rock in a stream, or we throw them in the latest model washing machine, their state of cleanliness is altered by our own human efforts. If we stand in a rainstorm and their state is altered, it's by nature alone. I suppose it would be a matter of opinion of which way is best. Sounds like a silly analogy, but the only things I credit with being natural, are those things which come about strictly through the wisdom of our planet's great eco system. Living organisms of all kinds change and evolve at a pace set to match maintaining proper balance for life. When we play with that, we are taking our lives into our own hands, and the consequences can be devastating. The condition of our planet is bearing witness to our ill attempts at playing God.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

@Wildrosebeef: I understand the technical difference between hybrids and GMO's. I simply don't agree with the ethics involved in either. What is the purpose of cross breeding tigers and lions? To prove that we can? To show our superiority over nature? Our planet is magnificent in the intricacies of its design. The natural eco system is a wonder to behold. It's a wonderful balancing act. When we mess with it, we cause imbalance, and ultimately we pay the price one way or another. I'm not liking that me and mine are paying the price because a couple of egomaniacs with a God-complex want the title of Master of the Universe. We are destroying ourselves in our quest to prove ourselves superior to all else. A pathetic and destructive waste of genius at the expense of the innocents...our children and grandchildren.


David Cole 22 months ago

Wow. It appears you are sincere in attacking hybrids as "unnatural" and equating them with GMOs. On the other hand, you may be a Monsanto mole and seek to discredit the anti-GMO movement by linking something as unnatural as GMOs to hybrids, making those of us opposed to GMOs to appear as ignorant idiots. In fact, Neil deGrasse Tyson tries to justify the safety of GMOs by comparing them to hybrids. What you apparently don't understand is that hybrids DO occur in nature...plant/animal breeding for hybrids is just creating the offspring in a conscious manner. Mules are a hybrid. Triticale is a hybrid. Broccoli is a hybrid. If I planted the two strains of bermuda grass in adding fields, nature would give me some amount of Tifton 85 (the Old Testament prohibits sowing two different grains together to prevent hybrids from occurring...essentially triticale). On the other hand, GMOs are little frankenstein creations that could NEVER occur in nature. And, sorry, many plants that are quite nutritious to livestock can be quite poisonous to livestock under certain conditions. Chief among these are nitrate poisoning and Prussic acid poisoning. It is the farmers job to see to it that his livestock have other plants to eat during those situations in which nitrate poisoning or Prussic acid poisoning are possible. Tifton 85 has many wonderful qualities over other similar grasses that in fact encourage biodiversity, plus its sod is so thick it keeps out weeds...meaning farmers who raise Tifton 85 will be less likely to use herbicides. You know, like that Monsanto product Roundup.


David Cole 22 months ago

I'm sorry, but living well now is living in a fantasy world. Yes there are hybrids which are superior in many ways, mules come to mind, as does Coastal Bermuda and Tifton 85 grass. But the easiest way to improve something is to consistently breed it to the best of the best. That way both F1 and F2 are superior. But there is no profit in that, since farmers could save seeds. The real goal of hybrid plants was to cross two crappy plants hoping to create a great F1 but the F2 would degenerate back to crappy...meaning farmers would have to buy seeds every year. Now, thanks to Plant Protection legislation, it is illegal for farmers to save seeds. And miracle of miracles, the new plant varieties in my seed catelogues, which had been hybrids all my life ( I'm 58. My farm has been in my family since 1845) are now suddenly replaced by new open pollinated varieties. The idea that hybrids were superior was pure marketing propaganda. You want to feed the planet have farmers adopt good farming practices for their microclimates.

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