January 11, 2016

11/01/2016: Alltech 2015 European Grains and Forage Harvest Analysis: Test before feeding cattle

According to Alltech’s 2015 European Grains and Forage Harvest Analysis, dairy and beef cattle are at high risk for mycotoxin exposure. Inconsistent weather conditions during the summer increased the risk for mycotoxin contamination, leading to challenges in plant growth with marked negative effects on the 2015 European crop.

The annual study surveyed 174 grain samples at the Analytical Services Laboratory of Alltech using UPLC-MS/MS testing for mycotoxin contamination to determine the risk of performance impairment to ruminant animals. The Alltech 37+® mycotoxin analysis found an average 2.8 mycotoxins per sample, with more than 91 percent of samples tested positive for at least one mycotoxin. The harvest analysis revealed multiple mycotoxins present in 2015 corn silage, with 75 percent of samples testing at higher risk for performance impairment to dairy and two-thirds at higher risk for beef cow performance. 
The harvest analysis revealed multiple mycotoxins present in corn silage, showing the greatest risk for Type A Trichothecenes, Fusaric Acid and Type B Trichothecenes. Fusaric Acid and Type B Trichothecenes were present in almost all corn silage samples and can interact synergistically with each other, increasing toxicity and elevating the potential to impact herd health and performance.
During Alltech’s annual European Harvest Analysis webinar for ruminants, Pedro Ramos Caramona, Alltech Mycotoxin Management team, project manager, reported the latest grains and forage samples tested through Alltech’s 37+® mycotoxin analysis
“It is important for producers to understand the synergistic effects toxins can have when multiple are present in feed, causing an increase in animal and rumen health challenges,” said Pedro Ramos Caramona, European Mycotoxin Management team project manager.

“Management practices to prevent exposure are always the best course of action. Producers should look to test feed samples at harvest and prior to feed out to identify the risk posed to their animals.”

According to Caramona, studies have shown that higher levels of mycotoxins can lead to a reduction of up to 0.59 litres in milk per day for dairy cows. Additionally, milk somatic cell count (SCC) may increase by eight percent. With this loss in performance and considering current milk prices, producers could see an estimated reduction in profitability per cow at €53.98 over one lactation.

Common symptoms with the ingestion of these toxins include reduced feed intake, lowered blood pressure, swelling and oedema of the legs, liver damage, immune response and lowered milk and meat production. Also present this year were Pencillium mycotoxins, commonly known as storage toxins. Hay and grass silage contained the greatest levels of Pencilliums, which can have a strong impact on rumen health, altering microbial protein and affecting rumen and gut health, which can result in altered performance.

By looking at the overall risk to the animal, known as Risk Equivalent Quantity (REQ), producers can assess the quality of their feed and identify the risk as low, moderate or high and take steps to minimise the impact of mycotoxins on ruminant animals.

“Producers need to be cautious, now more than ever, to ensure proper packing procedures are implemented to avoid spoilage prior to feed out,” Mr Caramona said.

“If left uncontrolled, contamination even at lower levels can cause health and performance challenges in livestock, resulting in the loss of production and profitability.”
Visit the Alltech site HERE.


The Global Miller
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