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GM technology for livestock sector.

Byline: Faizan Yasin

THE introduction of Genetically Modified (GM) crops has produced significant benefits to both farmers and consumers. GM crops have minimized the use of pesticides and provided higher crop yields; consumers benefited in the form of improved quality products (e.g., canola and soybean with modified oils). Currently, more than 340 GM crop events/lines have been approved for feed use.

GM crops have also benefited the livestock sector as they have increased yields of feed ingredient, have better quality traits, and are safer for livestock.

As a source of livestock feed components, the relevant GM crops include corn, canola, cottonseed, soybean, and potato. These crops are principally used in livestock feed rations either as an energy and/or protein source

With the increase in population, the demand for livestock products will also increase dramatically.

Moreover, with increasing urbanization and rising income in many parts of the developing world, per capita consumption of meat, milk, and eggs is expected to rise by about 2%. Global demand for meat is also forecast to increase more than 55% of current consumption by 2020, with most of the increase occurring in developing countries. Thus the demand for feed grain will increase by 3% per year in developing countries and 0.5% in developed countries.

On the average, less than 3 kg of feed grain are required to produce a kilo of livestock meat and less than a kilo of feed grain per kg of milk.

Clearly, increased grain production for food and feed has to be generated from increased yield because there is limited opportunity to increase cultivated land area without adverse environmental impacts.

Feed grain usage as a percentage of total crop production ranges from 18% for wheat, 52% for sorghum, 70% for corn, 75% for oats, to more than 90% of oil seed meals.

About 90 million metric tons of GM corn grains are produced worldwide. Given that 70% of total corn grain production are used for livestock feed, then at least 65 million metric tons of GM corn grains are used in livestock diets annually. In the case of soybean, about 70 million metric tons of soybean meal derived from GM soybean are fed to livestock per annum.

GM crops currently approved for use as animal feed are modified for herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, modified oil content, and virus resistance.

Many of the proteins expressed in GM crops have a history of safe usage and/or are similar to naturally occurring proteins.

GM feed ingredients of the future will benefit livestock with improved feed qualities. Future GM feed crops will have enhanced nutritional characteristics.

The use of insect protected corn is already improving feed quality by decreasing mycotoxin contamination.

The presence of mycotoxins in feed grains or ingredients makes them unfit for animal (or human) consumption and can cause serious health risk.

In Pakistan, poultry industry is growing at a rapid rate and require quality grain feed supply to sustain the growth. Similarly, dairy farming industry is also booming in country and require quality supply of silage/feed for animals to sustain the industry growth.

Corn grain is commonly used in poultry and dairy farming industries and its quality is critical to animal health and milk/meat production. GM corn can help to increase the quality of grain by reducing mycotoxin contamination and thereby protecting the animals and their outputs.

Future GM crops with enhanced output traits have the profound effect of improving animal productivity and performance. These innovations will contribute to helping feed the growing world population.
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Publication:Pakistan Observer (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Date:Aug 28, 2018
Words:650
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