Can Our Crops Catch a Break This Year?

11/17/2012 7:00 AM

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast, bringing several inches of rain along with high winds. The coasts of New Jersey and New York took the brunt of this storm, but the Delmarva Peninsula and New England area experienced significant rain and wind as well.

Last week, a Nor’easter hit the same area with more rain and high winds, followed by much colder temperatures.

These environmental factors are precursors for Fusarium mold growth on crops that are still in the field or stored where weather can affect them.

Many of the crops in this region have been harvested, but not all. Corn that still needs to be harvested poses a risk for mycotoxins. It is highly recommended that this corn be checked for mycotoxins before it is fed to livestock.

In order to better identify mycotoxins, Alltech recently launched its 37+ Program. The mass spectrometry technique LC-MS2 can investigate 38 different mycotoxins quantitatively, and more than 50 others qualitatively in less than 15 minutes per sample analyzed, with limits of detection in the parts per trillion range.

Thus far, the 37+ analysis for 2012 corn shows anywhere from two to five mycotoxins in 83 percent of the samples checked.

Mycotoxins produced from Fusarium molds can have a severe detrimental effect on livestock production, feed intake, reproduction and immune status.

Mycotoxins such as vomitoxin, fumonisin, zearalonone, T-2 are all capable of harming animal health and performance individually but are most often found in combinations together with more significant results.

Penicillium mycotoxins are commonly called storage mycotoxins and have an antibiotic effect on the rumen. This alters the protozoa number and ratio, resulting in inefficiency and lower intakes.

The mold itself, even if it does not produce mycotoxins, will decrease the nutritive value of the feedstuff and decrease feed intake.

“These weather events can result in reduced or erratic feed intakes, causing digestive upsets. There is also the stress of cold, wet weather coupled with decreased feed intake and the strain on immune status,” said Max Hawkins of the Alltech mycotoxin management team. “Producers should have a program to monitor molds and mycotoxins, strengthen gut health, and support the immune status of their livestock as a result of these storms.”

Source: Alltech.


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