While the 2016 harvest looks to be a bumper crop, (check out the September UDSA report); Alltech mycotoxin expert Dr. Max Hawkins warns quantity should not distract dairy and beef producers from being vigilant regarding quality and the potential for mycotoxin risk.
In a recent Alltech release, Hawkins noted the spring wheat harvest across the northern Great Plains experienced wet weather, which led to increased crop stress and Fusarium head blight. Likewise, much of the U.S. Corn Belt experienced above average temperatures and moisture through August, creating the right environment for mold and subsequent mycotoxin issues.
Alltech recently collected more than 100 TMR samples from the U.S. and analyzed them through the Alltech 37+ mycotoxin analytical services laboratory, using LCMS/ MS technology to determine mycotoxin presence and growth through the storage months. The 37+ analysis tests for over 37 individual mycotoxins in a given sample and shows the risk that mycotoxins in stored crops can pose to herd health and performance.
Of the samples, nearly 18 percent contained 6–7 mycotoxins, 42 percent had 4–5 mycotoxins, 35 percent had 2–3 mycotoxins, and less than 2 percent had either one mycotoxin or none. Of the mycotoxins present, type B trichothecenes and fusaric acid were most prevalent in 83 percent and 92 percent of the samples respectively.
The toxicity of Fusaric Acid is significantly enhanced when feed is co-contaminated with type B trichothecene or DON. Together, the mycotoxins present in the sample group have a REQ, or risk equivalent quantity, of 187 for beef cattle and 211 for dairy cows. For dairy cows, this level of risk could represent a 0.5-liter loss in milk production per cow per day.