Produced by molds, mycotoxins affect animal performance and producer profitability in many ways. Why are they such a significant risk to your herd?
What are mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are natural substances produced by molds in the field and during the storage of grains, feeds and forages. With over 500 diverse types of mycotoxins discovered (yes, there are over 500!), it is a prevalent issue that can negatively affect your herd’s productivity, efficiency and profitability.
How do mycotoxins affect your herd?
Pigs are extremely sensitive to mycotoxins. The presence of mycotoxins, even at low levels in feed, reduces performance in growing and breeding animals, affects immune and health status, and can ultimately lead to death.
As crop harvest season approaches, mycotoxin contamination will be an even bigger issue. Weekly Monday Mycotoxin Report videos have reported on the poor quality of wheat and mycotoxin contamination.
The Alltech 37+® mycotoxin analytical services laboratory is also currently conducting a 2017 Summer Harvest Survey of wheat throughout the U.S. and Canada. Final results will be released in a couple of months, but initial samples show high levels of DON, T-2/HT-2 and zearalenone.
According to Dr. Alexandra Weaver, a mycotoxin management expert from Alltech, these are key symptoms that producers should be aware of if DON, T-2/HT-2 and zearalenone are present:
- Lower feed intake and feed refusal
- Gut health challenges: damage to intestinal tract, increase in intestinal pathogens
- Altered immune status: increased susceptibility to other diseases, poor response to vaccinations
- Reduced growth rates
- Impacts on reproductive performance: abortions, reduced conception rates, increase in mummies or stillborn, increased variation within litter
What can you do?
Programs such as the Alltech® Mycotoxin Management program provide a tailored solution to help control mycotoxins through a combination of mycotoxin management tools, mycotoxin testing and nutritional technologies.
Effective mycotoxin management is about seeing the whole challenge, from the farm to the feed mill and from risk assessment to feed management. Being proactive instead of reactive will benefit you and your herd in the long run.