For many years, multinational feed additive producer Nutriad — among other companies and organizations — has been analyzing crops across the world to determine mycotoxin contamination levels so it can better support local producers in their mycotoxin management strategies.
Recently, Nutriad released its survey results for wheat samples from Great Britain and Ireland and corn/maize samples from Spain.
The "2017 Nutriad Mycotoxin Survey" covered 51 wheat samples from across Great Britain and Ireland. All samples were collected directly from farms or animal feed production sites almost immediately after the harvest, when there is a low probability that some storage mycotoxins, such as ochratoxin A (OTA), will have developed.
According to Nutriad, more than 350 analyses were conducted to test for the presence of the seven mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities intended for animal production. The survey provided insight into the incidences of aflatoxin B1 (AfB1), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin, fumonisins (FB1 + FB2) and OTA.
Typically, the levels of DON and ZEN in wheat tend to be lower in northern England and Scotland; moderate in western England, Wales and Ireland, and highest in southern and southeastern England.
The results show that 74.5% of wheat samples were contaminated with DON, and none of the samples contained AfB1, T-2 toxin, HT2-toxin nor fumonisins. The average concentrations of all identified mycotoxins were medium, while the highest concentration of DON found in one of the samples reached 1180 μg/kg, Nutriad reported.
Although 35% of the samples were contaminated with ZEN, a mycotoxin affecting reproductive functions of all animal species, its average concentration was negligible, at only 38 μg/kg. However, the maximum concentration of ZEN found in one of the samples was 164 μg/kg, and this level may be significant for sows, boars and piglets, the company said.
As expected, none of the samples were contaminated with OTA.
When comparing DON and ZEN contamination levels of wheat in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, the contamination levels in 2017 were significantly higher than in the three previous years, Nutriad noted. The quality of wheat in 2017 was slightly worse than the previous year and significantly worse than in 2014 and 2015.
Based on the results of this survey, Nutriad said the 2017 wheat crop in Great Britain and Ireland should not automatically be considered safe for inclusion in finished feed rations for all animal species and a degree of vigilance is prudent.
Vigilance is always advisable in any case, as cereals in animal feeds originate from many sources, and some continental European cereals and South American soybeans harvested in 2017 have been shown to be contaminated with medium to high concentrations of mycotoxins, Nutriad noted. The last possible line of defense is the detoxification of mycotoxins in vivo. The addition of proven mycotoxin deactivators to animal feeds is a very common method to prevent mycotoxicosis and is an effective strategy to keep mycotoxin risk low under all conditions, the company added.
The 2017 survey included 121 maize/corn samples from across Spain. All samples were collected almost immediately after the harvest from farms or animal feed production sites. More than 480 analyses were conducted to test for the occurrence of four of the mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities intended for animal production: AfB1, ZEN, DON and fumonisins.
Nutriad's 2017 mycotoxin survey concluded that the 2017 maize harvest in Spain was of medium quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination (DON, ZEN and fumonisins). The exceptions were the very high average and the maximum concentrations of AfB1, which clearly exceeded the concentration permitted in feed materials in the European Union.
Due to the unexpected very high average and maximum concentrations of AfB1, Nutriad said the 2017 maize crop in Spain should not be considered safe for inclusion in finished feed rations for dairy milk producers, and a degree of vigilance is prudent.