Stockfeed: Symptoms & target organs affected by glyphosate / Roundup poisoning.

DSC_2136The current studies held with WHO/FAO, the EPA & the European Commission for glyphosate assessment for reproductive and developmental toxicity, show problems  that will affect livestock at current permitted glyphosate and Roundup residue levels.


Are livestock farmers playing Russian Roulette when they buy in stock feed?

Not all stockfeed will have high levels of glyphosate/Roundup, but a significant proportion will.   Because the new industry practice in agricultural cropping of desiccation (drying plants with a chemical spray to aid maturity) of plant crops has been growing in popularity in the last 6 years.  And the extremely high permitted residue limits for glyphosate / Roundup on animal feed are clearly policy decisions that favour farmers in cereal cropping over the livestock farmers, and this is reflected in the high amounts of glyphosate permitted on cereal and other forage crops as late harvest, or desiccation sprays.

Previous articles have listed current levels of permitted residues for the USA, Europe and for countries that follow the World Health Organisation (Codex) recommendations.

These are realistic, following crop trials they look at the highest residue actually on the crop, and then bump it up a bit higher for a margin.  Agencies do not necessarily take into account toxicity research to make their decisions.

Why do they favour cereal or cropping farmers?  Because the livestock farmers, with their sheep, pigs, cattle and even poultry, are left with animal feed soaked in higher levels of residues of glyphosate, which can result in the problems listed below, not to mention increased visits from the local veterinarian.  While farmers in cropping that apply these sprays are left with harvests that mature or dry out more uniformly, the sprays for them are simply much more convenient than dealing with the challenges of moisture when harvesting valuable seed.

Residue limits: the maximum amount of a particular chemical that is left behind on the plant after spraying.  It is measured in miligrams per kilogram on the animal feed, or in parts per million, which is the same thing.

In 2012, there are extremely high currently permitted Maximum Residue Limits for glyphosate/Roundup on stockfeed. Most of the residues have been increased over the last 6 years and are primarily due to two practices:

  1. GMO/OGM – Roundup Ready crop varieties have higher tolerances to herbicides, so therefore more can be used. (This we know).
  2. Desiccation or pre-harvest spraying of cereal crops –  chemicals are sprayed up to 7 days before the crop is harvested. (This is not such common knowledge).

So now today, the permitted residue levels of glyphosate / Roundup on animal feed may be higher than what even the industry funded (mainly Monsanto, Syngenta and Cheminova) say causes little problems like diarrhoea,  and less vigorous animals, affecting fertility and reproduction all the way up to producing significant malformations.

Chemicals tend to ‘attack’ particular areas of the animal. These become known as the ‘target organs” or the ‘critical effects’ of that particular chemical.

Target/critical effects of glyphosate / Roundup. These effects are extracted from the studies held with the USA EPA, the World Health Organisation and the European Commission.:

  • Decreased pregnancy rate
  • Decreased litter size
  • Decreased survival rate
  • Distocia/abortions/reabsorptions
  • Lower growth rate (diarrhoea, soft stools, decreased food consumption)
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances/congested stomach
  • Liver (organ weight increases; clinicial chemistry, histology);
  • Changes in salivary glands
  • stomach mucosa and bladder epithelium (histology);
  • Eye cataracts.
  • Focal tubular dilation of the kidneys
  • Heart malformations: Dilated heart, interventricular septal defect.


Skeletal (teratologic) malformations include:

  • Delayed ossification (caudal vertebral arch, forelimb proximal and hindlimb distal phalanges)
  • Unossified transverse processes of seventh lumbar vertebra
  • Ossified transverse processes of the seventh vertebra
  • Unossified or partially ossified sternebrae
  • Extra 13th rib
  • Waxy ribs

Please note the above studies only identify for developmental and reproductive toxicity – how glyphosate may harm the mother and the developing foetus and baby.

If you want to look at (for example), fertility and neurological impact, carcinogenic toxicity, the endocrine system; these are entirely different subject areas not covered here. 


This neurotoxicity study is not listed on the EPA Glyphosate Reregistration but in EPA files dated 13 May 1994, it discusses a study AR 5425 for acute mammalian neurotoxicity.  The following symptoms were at at 300 mg/kg bw/day, the same level for stockfeed in many countries, now that hay and silage can be dessicated with Roundup and other glyphosate formulations:

Recovery from the majority of the signs was observed within the first 24 to 48 hours post dosing.  These signs included:

  • ptosis,
  • decreased activity,
  • shaking,
  • hunched posture,
  • upward curvature of the spine,
  • reduced splay reflex,
  • sides pinched in
  • labored or irregular breathing.

The report stated that abnormal, staggering gait was recorded from day 2 for 3 males and staining around the nose was also observed on day 2 for several animals.  In addition, for several animals, abnormal gait, hunched posture, sides pinched in, upward curvature of the spine and reduced splay index were still apparent on days 4-7.



These are the results from studies that only look at the effects of glyphosate.  Please note Roundup includes adjuvants and is a more effective, stronger mix.


And of course, from my research I doubt that there is anywhere in the world where authorities regularly test levels of glyphosate or Roundup on animal feed before it is sold to the livestock farmers.

It is all self regulated….



No-one monitors animal feed residue levels but here are the maximum Roundup residues permitted:

USA Government Printing Office Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.  Title 40: Protecting The Environment. Part 180 Tolerances and exemptions for pesticide chemical residues in food. Subpart C – Specific Tolerances.  S. 180.364 Glyphosate; tolerances for residues. 

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