The wet and cool fall weather the Corn Belt has experienced this year should prompt livestock producers to check for the potential risk of mycotoxins in their corn crop, according to Iowa State University.
Mycotoxins are chemicals produced by fungi (mold) under certain climatic conditions. This year’s corn harvest may be at greater risk due to the recent wet weather conditions. The prevalence and concentration of mycotoxins in grain can be sporadic and can vary annually, even in the same location.
Mycotoxins are potentially toxic to humans and animals. A few of the mycotoxins known to occur in Iowa are aflatoxin, fumonisin, vomitoxin (deoxynivalenol), zearalenone and, infrequently, T-2 and ochratoxin.
Producers are encouraged work with their local veterinarians to better understand how to mitigate risks to their livestock and determine which animals are most susceptible to the effects of the various mycotoxins.
The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine offers a rapid screening test that can aid in analyzing feed or grain for mycotoxins.
Veterinarians and producers may submit their grain or feed samples by mail to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. A mycotoxin screening submission form is available at https://vetmed.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/VDL/forms/Mycotoxin-Form.pdf.
A mycotoxin panel is available through the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for $100 per sample. There is a $10 submission fee and a 1% surcharge.