Sunday, June 24, 2012

GM grass linked to Texas cattle deaths by fact free reporting

How stories spread on the internet:
"(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.
Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.
The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.
Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.
The grass is a genetically-modified form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.
"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.
Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong...."
@  GM grass linked to Texas cattle deaths - CBS News:
Followed by Tweeting -- Steve Silberman rushes in with a cute flash:
But  no fact-checking. The grass is not GM in the popular sense. It is a conventional hybrid:

See also:
Carole H. Brannen, Extension Animal Scientist - Beef Cattle

Pickrell JA, Oehme FW, Hickman SR.