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What are mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are natural substances produced by moulds and fungi. They are invisible, stable and toxic chemical compounds. Mycotoxins are common in the farm environment – surviving in many places and on many different types of feed sources.

More than 500 different mycotoxins have been identified to date and most animal feedstuffs are likely to be contaminated with multiple mycotoxins.

The growth of moulds, and mycotoxin production, are most encouraged by environmental conditions such as temperature (hot/cool) and moisture (wet/dry). However, mycotoxins can also be produced by moulds when other stress conditions occur to the host plant or the mould.

Ever present in the farm environment and a potential threat to the productivity of even the best-run livestock production operations, mycotoxin contamination should now be on every feed producer and farmer’s radar.

Climate change and feed storage practices are starting to influence the range of moulds occurring in farm feed stocks. And with traditional tilling and crop rotation practices diminishing too in many developed countries, mould contamination is persisting year-on-year, making the multiple mycotoxin threat very real.