Heavy rain in US increases mycotoxin risk
Preliminary testing over the summer months of the 2015 North America wheat crop shows an average 3.2 mycotoxins per sample, with Deoxynivalenol (DON) the most predominant toxin.
This is the result of analysis, done by animal nutrition company Alltech. The analysis showed that summer rainfall levels through Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana presented a consistent pattern with areas of high mycotoxin contamination in wheat testing from 2,000 to 12,000 parts per billion (ppb).
At high risk levels, DON can have negative impacts on animal health and productivity (link to DON item, also scheduled for Sept 8), such as a reduction in milk production and weight gain, gut irritation and lower immune response.
Wet weather caused delayed planting and soil nitrogen loss
"For the past 90 days, we have had above average rainfall. This caused late planting, with some acres not planted at all. This made it difficult to get in to spray or do post planting field work. Wet soil has also created a nitrogen loss situation," said Dr Max Hawkins, nutritionist with Alltech's Mycotoxin Management team. "The next month's climate will tell us a lot about the severity of any mould and mycotoxin problems. Cool and extended wet weather would not be ideal."
Necessary management steps for farmers
Hawkins advises farmers to scout fields for any stalk or leaf mould issues, as well as for any damage to plants from insects or weather conditions, such as wind or hail. Also look for any irregularity in the field. Excess rain can create ponds that can drown out or stunt crop growth and generate differences in soil types across a field. Producers should take the necessary management steps upon harvest to help troubleshoot existing issues with contaminated feedstuffs:
- Use of a silage inoculantProper packing and covering of grains
- Grain drying – dry to 14% moisture
- Use of a proper mycotoxin management programme
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