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Analysis shows US poultry feed at risk for mycotoxins

A wet spring and a late dry season took its toll on the 2015 North America crop, producing irregularities in plant growth and now putting poultry and swine at risk for mycotoxin exposure, according to Alltech’s North America Harvest Analysis.

The annual study surveyed 100 North American corn samples from across the United States and Canada from September to November 2015, testing for mycotoxin contamination to determine the risk posed to monogastrics. The Alltech 37+ mycotoxin analysis found an average 3.1 mycotoxins per sample that ranged from lower to higher risk for both swine and poultry. Ninety-seven percent of samples tested positive for at least one mycotoxin.

Areas of mycotoxin prevelance

The harvest analysis revealed the greatest prevalence of Fumonisins, Fusaric Acid and Type B Trichothecenes in both the Midwest and East Coast regions. Type B Trichothecenes and Fusaric Acid can interact synergistically with each other, increasing toxicity and elevating the potential to impact livestock and poultry health and performance.

Ingestion of Fumonisins can cause reduced feed intake, damage internal organs such as the liver and lungs, suppress the immune system, increase the number of gut pathogens and susceptibility to disease and cause poor vaccination response.

Moderate risk for broilers

A similar analysis of 53 wheat crop samples from across the US and Canada showed an average 2.9 mycotoxins per sample, with Type B Trichothecenes and Fumonisins as the most predominant. Due to the levels present, nursery pigs and growers/finishers are at high risk and poultry layers and broilers at moderate risk for performance impacts.

"Management practices to prevent exposure are always the best course of action," said Dr Alexandra Weaver, Alltech Mycotoxin Management technical specialist. "Producers should consider testing feed samples to understand levels prior to storage and to understand the possible synergistic effects multiple mycotoxins can play in animal health and performance."

Reduction in carcass weight

At an average risk level (low) from corn, broilers may exhibit a reduction in 90 grams (0.2 pounds) in carcass weight per bird. Additionally, FCR may increase by approximately 4.7% causing an extra 2.5 days to reach desired market weight. With this loss in performance and considering current prices, the reduction in net return for broilers is an estimated decrease of $0.21 (€0.19) per bird.

"Even at low levels, mycotoxins may impact animal health and performance, resulting in a negative impact on profitability," Weaver said. "Mycotoxin management from field to feedout is critical for reducing risks."

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