Mycotoxin’s – The Invisible Handicap

86

Mycotoxins are a known issue in livestock feeding, but do we truly recognize where they come from and  how much impact they have on our animals? What performance, immune, social behavior and welfare  issues can they cause in our pigs? What can we do to help prevent the problems associated with feeding  mycotoxin-contaminated feeds?

Where do toxins in our feed come from? During the growing or storage seasons, grains can develop  different molds, when these molds are stressed (in the field, or in storage), they produce toxins.  Weather can be an indication of which types of toxins are produced. For example, wet and cool seasons  are more likely to produce vomitoxin (DON), zearalenone and T-2 toxin. While hot and humid conditions  are a breeding ground for fumonisin and aflatoxin. Problematically, toxins can be present in feed even  when no mold is seen. North America is especially challenging, as with large climate fluctuations, and  extensive shipping of DDGS we often see three or more toxins in one feed sample, which drastically  changes how we should view the levels of contamination.

What issues can feeding mycotoxins have on pigs? Mycotoxins have very different impact on livestock;  for example, poultry can handle significant levels of vomitoxin, where pigs and dairy cows handle it very  poorly. Pigs are also sensitive to smaller amounts of mycotoxins, especially when more than one toxin is  present. Feeding contaminated grain or feed can cause many symptoms such as: feed refusal, swollen  mammary glands, ear/tail necrosis, reduced body weight, decline in reproductive performance and a  decrease in overall animal health and performance. Mycotoxins can lower the pig’s ability to protect  itself from disease and allow for secondary infections.

How do we prevent harmful mycotoxins? Although there is no way to completely get rid of mycotoxins,  we can take preventative measures to minimize their impact on pigs by testing our ingredients and using  appropriate proven supplements.

Invisible mycotoxins in our feed make it very difficult to prevent problems. Having the insurance of  products such as Equalize™ Swine to supplement the feed with clays, yeast cell walls and other  supportive ingredients can help protect your investment from this invisible handicap.

Furst-McNess Company
www.mcness.com/equalize
815.801.2744 | swine@mcness.com