Mycotoxins and Ruminants
Ruminants consume feed that is likely to be contaminated with mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are extremely widespread in all feeds including in grains, maize and forage. Including derivatives and metabolites, there are over 500 different mycotoxins.
It is widely accepted that ruminant diets are frequently contaminated with multiple mycotoxins. When present together, these toxins can act synergistically, increasing their risk.
Complex diets and feed transitions that combine forages, by-products and fermented feeds all present a risk to ruminants. Straw and other grown bedding materials can also be a source of mycotoxins.
Most symptoms of mycotoxin contamination come from sub-acute effects: lower productivity, growth rates, feed conversion, milk volume, fertility or higher disease incidence.
Livestock can never reach their full potential when affected by mycotoxins. At worst, milk and meat may be unsuitable for human consumption by exceeding regulatory levels allowed into the food chain.
Know Your Risk, Take Control
Sources of Mycotoxins
Complex feed systems like TMR, commonly used for dairy ruminants where forage, grain and other processed feeds are combined, present a significant risk of multiple mycotoxin exposure.
Such feeds are commonly found containing Deoxynivalenol (DON), Zearalenone (ZON), and Fumonisins (FB1 and FB2), and can manifest as chronic health issues affecting performance and productivity.
Forages are frequently found infected with Fusarium and Aspergillus fungi.
As a high energy crop, maize is at high risk of becoming contaminated with Aflatoxin and Fumonisin mycotoxins.
Grain is often contaminated by Fusarium fungi, which favour cooler and wetter conditions. Fusarium species are known to produce Trichothecene and Fumonisin mycotoxins.
Straw, a common feed and bedding material, is frequently overlooked as a source of mycotoxins. The fungi responsible for causing producing mycotoxins in grains can also infect the plant stems.
Results from our 2018 straw survey show that straw is frequently contaminated with multiple mycotoxins.