Mycotoxin awareness has increased at many levels in the dairy industry, from producers to nutritionists and feed manufacturers. This has led to an increase in research studying the effects of various mycotoxins on ruminant productivity.

  • Mycotoxins and their incidences are related to field and storage conditions.
    • The use of railcars to move feed ingredients across North America allow for the easy movement of grain sources (i.e. corn, wheat) or by-products (i.e. corn DDGs, corn gluten meal) from areas that had high mycotoxin concerns during a growing season.
  • Ruminant production continues to increase (i.e. more milk/cow/year or increased average daily gain in commercial feedlots), so ruminants are under more stress.  Feeding a feedstuff higher in mycotoxins may cause immunity system challenges, which have a negative impact on ruminant productivity.
  • Technology to measure mycotoxins has improved significantly at the commercial lab level, as well as in field/rapid tests.
    • Most commercial feed mills have the capability to do a rapid test, which allows for simple “accept or reject” of feed ingredients based on measured mycotoxin levels.

There continues to be a need for research-based feed additives that bind mycotoxins, allowing for optimal ruminant productivity.  These feed additives need to be cost-effective and allow for easy inclusion into on-farm rations.

– Dr. Mark Cameron, Nutrisource