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2015 cereal harvest contaminated with multiple mycotoxins

The 2015 wheat, barley and corn crops being exported by the major cereal producing regions of the world show evidence of multiple mycotoxin contamination, putting the health and performance of global farmed livestock at risk.

Analyses coming from our Alltech 37+® test results show that the wheat being exported by the top five exporters – the EU, Russia, US, Canada and Australia – is contaminated by an average of 2.2 mycotoxins with B tricothecenes (49% of samples), fumonisins (46%) and ochratoxins (21%) being the most significant.

The multiple contamination picture is very similar for 2015 barley with an average of 2.4 mycotoxins per sample. The top five barley exporters are the EU, Australia, Ukraine, Russia and Argentina.

Corn samples coming out of the top exporters (the US, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine and Russia), show even more serious mycotoxin contamination.

Corn samples tested contained an average of 3.5 mycotoxins, but nearly half (47.95%) of them showed up positive for more than 4. Again, fumonisins (70% of samples), B tricothecenes (53%) and ochratoxins (21%) were amongst the most prevalent mycotoxins, but a significant number of samples (56%) also contained fusaric acid.

We are particularly concerned about the significance of these results for pig production units feeding imported cereals.

Unfortunately, there is no ‘safe’ feed mycotoxin level for pigs. This monogastric species is very susceptible to mycotoxins and for those feeding contaminated wheat and corn, in particular, the risk of compromised performance in both breeding stock and nursery pigs is high. The average contamination level even presents a medium risk to more mycotoxin tolerant growing and finishing pigs.

We believe that climate change and feed storage practices are starting to influence the range of moulds occurring in cereals worldwide. And with traditional tilling and crop rotation practices diminishing too, mould contamination is persisting year-on-year, making the multiple mycotoxin threat very real.

However, thanks to Alltech 37+®, we are able to give livestock producers globally a much more accurate picture of the total mycotoxin contamination in their feeds. And, significantly, the overall risk that any toxin group is likely to have on the animals being fed.