Performance of lactating dairy cows fed corn as whole plant silage and grain produced from a glyphosate-tolerant hybrid (event NK603)

J Dairy Sci. 2003 May;86(5):1734-41. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(03)73759-X.


Sixteen multiparous Holstein cows averaging 74 d in milk were used in a replicated 4 x 4 Latin square to compare the effects on animal performance of feeding whole plant silage and grain from a glyphosate-tolerant corn hybrid (event NK603), a nontransgenic control hybrid, and two commercial nontransgenic hybrids (DK647 and RX740). The grain and silage from the four corn hybrids were produced using the same procedures and under similar agronomic conditions at the University of Illinois. On a dry matter (DM) basis, diets contained 30% corn silage and 27.34% corn grain produced either from event NK603, a nontransgenic control, or commercial hybrids. Apart from the DM content of silages, the chemical composition of both grain and silage produced from the four corn hybrids were substantially equivalent. Feeding diets that contained event NK603 and DK647 hybrids tended to decrease DM intake (DMI) compared with the control nontransgenic and RX740. The intakes of crude protein (CP), acid and neutral detergent fiber, and nonfiber carbohydrates were not different for cows fed event NK603 and control diets. The RX740 diet resulted in the highest intakes of fiber and CP, whereas the DK647 diet resulted in the lowest intake of CP. These differences in nutrient intake arose from small variations in both the DMI and the chemical composition of feed ingredients and experimental diets. Production of milk and 3.5% fat-corrected milk; milk fat, CP, and true protein percentage and yield; milk urea N; milk total solids percentage and yield; and somatic cell count were not affected by treatments. These data indicate that the stable insertion of the gene that confers tolerance to glyphosate (event NK603) in the corn line used in this experiment does not affect its chemical composition and nutritional value for lactating dairy cows when compared with conventional corn.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Cell Count
  • Diet
  • Drug Tolerance / genetics*
  • Fats / analysis
  • Female
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / pharmacology*
  • Herbicides / pharmacology
  • Lactation*
  • Lactose / analysis
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk / cytology
  • Milk Proteins / analysis
  • Nitrogen / analysis
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*
  • Silage
  • Urea / analysis
  • Zea mays / chemistry
  • Zea mays / genetics*


  • Fats
  • Herbicides
  • Milk Proteins
  • glyphosate
  • Urea
  • Lactose
  • Nitrogen
  • Glycine