Industry needs to implement mycotoxin management program

All of the corn and silage samples submitted during the 2013 harvest tested positive for multiple mycotoxins, according to a recent analysis conducted by Alltech.


 By Max Hawkins, Alltech Mycotoxin Management Team

While the 2013 crop was overly abundant, there were some flaws found in this year’s harvest. The United States Department of Agriculture reported this year’s output at 146 million bushels more for a record 13.989 million bushels for 2013/2014. However, a recent harvest analysis conducted by Alltech found more than 90 percent of corn silage samples taken during the 2013 harvest tested positive for multiple mycotoxins.

The Harvest Analysis North America (HANA) survey done by Alltech tested 101 samples from across the United States and Canada and demonstrated the need for feed mills and producers to implement a mycotoxin management program in 2014. Despite more rainfall across the Corn Belt and yields pushing record production, mycotoxins were still present in high levels in this year’s crop.

Samples sent in from across the United States and Canada showed that corn silage yields and corn grain tested positive for multiple mycotoxins. Also, a greater percentage of feeds and feedstuffs was contaminated with multiple mycotoxins. The breakdowns for corn silage and corn were almost identical in that Fumonisin was the most prominent mycotoxin and was followed by Fusaric Acid and Type B Trichothecenes.

Type B Trichothecenes were present at low risk levels in both corn silage and corn grain in the average sample and may be considered at safe levels by many producers. However, the second most prevalent mycotoxin is Fusaric Acid, and Fusaric Acid often acts synergistically with DON to magnify its effects.

Considering this information, along with the sensitivity of the animal to those mycotoxins, allows the provision of an overall Risk Assessment (REQ), which considers the total impact that the group of mycotoxins present in samples analyzed is likely to have on the animal. It is not enough to measure each individual toxin as the cumulative effect of the group is often far greater than that of each individual toxin.The presence of one often exacerbates the effect of another.

With this dilemma in mind and a goal to bring the latest mycotoxin research applications to the farm level, Alltech would like to remind producers and feedmills of their five-point Alltech Mycotoxin Management Program, launched in March 2013. This multiple-mycotoxin control program for feedstuffs is designed to reduce risk and improve safety, while ensuring that mycotoxins do not limit livestock performance and profitability, or pose a threat to the food chain.

Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management Program offers five key components for farms concerned with mycotoxin contamination:

  1. The 37+ program analyzes for multiple mycotoxin contamination in a given feed sample.
  2. The program also provides a risk assessment and calculates the toxic equivalent quantity (toxicity times the quantity of mycotoxins) for that particular feedstuff sample.
  3. Alltech has developed proprietary techniques to demonstrate how utilizing the Mycotoxin Management Program can help to reduce the threat posed by multiple mycotoxins.
  4. The Mycotoxin Hazard Analysis Program (MIKO) from Alltech is designed to help improve production systems on farm and at feed mills by performing an audit; determining the critical control points; and establishing critical limits, monitoring procedures, corrective actions, checking procedures and protocols for recording information.
  5. Finally, the mycotoxin management team provides a complete contamination report and recommendations for management and nutritional applications that can assist with mycotoxin prevention and control.

An effective mycotoxin management program should be integrated and personalized to each farm. The factors influencing mycotoxin production and their negative effects on animals are not constant across all operations. A farmer who produces his or her own feedstuffs has much better control on mycotoxin issues than a farmer who buys feedstuffs. Various management programs, such as MIKO, can be implemented while growing crops in the field, during storage of feedstuffs, producing feed in the mills, and while feeding in barns. Even if it’s too late to implement some of the mycotoxin prevention procedures, supportive treatments can still be implemented to minimize overall losses.

For more information about the Alltech Mycotoxin Management Program or any concerns relating to mycotoxins, please call the Mycotoxin Hotline at 866-322-3484

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