Mycotoxins pose a problem for livestock owners. They have toxic properties that adversely affect feed quality, animal health and animal performance. Alltech analyzed crop samples from across Europe using Alltech 37 + ® and found high mycotoxin concentrations. Alltech 37 + ® is an advanced analytical method for determining mycotoxin contamination in feed. In regions with heavy rainfall during flowering and pollination, as well as precipitation in the late season after high stress levels of plants due to summer heat and drought, particularly high concentrations of the mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON), fusaric acid and fumonisin could be detected. This applies equally to grain and forage.
"Alternating growth conditions with low or excessive rainfall, or even successively, promote ideal conditions for contamination with mycotoxins," says dr. Max Hawkins, Global Technical Support for the Alltech® Mycotoxin Management Team. "The extreme weather events in 2018 have led to an increased incidence of mycotoxins in many countries."
From May to July 2018, European weather was characterized by drought and severe drought, especially in the north. This weather affects the type of mycotoxins that livestock owners face. A weather change in August weakened some of the drought, but resulted in heavy rainfall during the corn harvest. This often led to an increased occurrence of Fusarium and trichothecenes.
Food samples from all over Europe showed a high mycotoxin content, which can lead to impaired ruminant performance. Grass silage samples were 100% contaminated with fusaric acid while maize silage was 100% loaded with Type B trichothecenes. These mycotoxins in ruminants may affect the health and function of the rumen.
"The corn silage mycotoxin load is usually stronger as the maize stays longer in the field and is exposed to more environmental factors, which increases the risk of corn silage," Hawkins said. "In addition, the risk increases, not only because of the grains, but also the whole plant is used and a total of more mycotoxins are introduced. "
The biggest danger is wheat and barley due to Type B trichothecenes. These were determined in 57% of the wheat samples and in 70% of the barley samples. In Croatia, Serbia and Spain, these were even present in 100% of the samples. On average, three different mycotoxins were detected in the maize samples, most of which came from fumonisins. These mycotoxins can be particularly harmful to fattening pigs.
A mycotoxin rarely comes alone. Thus it is not uncommon to find several mycotoxins in compound feed at the same time. This can result in interactions between the toxins that exert a synergistic or additive effect after ingestion. As a result, animals can show a stronger response than in the presence of just one mycotoxin. The risk is increased by multiple mycotoxins and make the diagnosis more difficult.
Alltech's annual crop analysis, which uses the Alltech 37 + ® analysis method and simultaneously analyzes more than 50 mycotoxins, identifies the mycotoxin load in the feed and assesses the potential risk to livestock. As part of Alltech's mycotoxin management program, more than 26,000 feed samples have been previously analyzed in laboratories in Lexington, Kentucky, USA and Dunboyne, Ireland. The introduction of a mycotoxin management program supports the health and performance of the animals and contributes to the understanding of the mycotoxin risk.
Further information on mycotoxin management is available at knowmycotoxins.com.
Dr. Hawkins has presented the results of the EU crop analysis in a webinar. To watch this webinar, click HERE and press the button on the right "Watch the Webinar".

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