US corn mycotoxins show low risk to swine, poultry

US corn mycotoxins show low risk to swine, poultry

Animal performance can still be affected at lower levels, bringing down profitability

Although Alltech’s mycotoxin outlook for 2015 corn crop showed mostly low risk to swine and poultry, mycotoxins can affect animal performance and health even at lower levels, said Alexandra Weaver, Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management technical support during the 2015 North American Harvest Analysis webinar on November 30.

“It’s much better to be proactive rather than reactive,” Weaver said, stressing that, because mycotoxins can have a negative effect on profitability, mycotoxin management is important from field to animal to reduce risks.

Alltech’s 37+ analytical laboratory analyzed 100 samples of corn from 11 U.S. states to measure total mycotoxin content. The analysis found an average of 3.1 mycotoxins per sample, with the majority having 2-5 mycotoxins – lower than last year’s results. Seventy percent of the samples had fumonisins (FUM).

In the Midwest, a mix of deoxynivalenol (DON), FUM and fusaric acid were found, but the greatest levels of mycotoxins from South Dakota and Minnesota. On the East Coast, samples showed a mix of DON, FUM, zearalenone (ZEA) and fusaric acid, with the greatest levels of mycotoxins found in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Quebec.

FUM was found in 80 percent of corn sampled from the Carolinas but, in the Midwest, there was a more even distribution of the types of mycotoxins found. The highest levels of FUM were found in South Dakota, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The highest levels of DON were found in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Quebec, Canada. The highest levels of ZEA were found in Pennsylvania and Quebec.

Cost to producers

Weaver explained what the presence of mycotoxins, even at low levels, can cost pig and poultry producers.

For broilers, it can mean a loss of 3 grams per day per bird, a gain of 4.7 percent in feed conversion ratio per bird, a profit loss of 21 cents per bird, and 2.5 extra days to reach desired market weight.

For layers, it can mean 3.8 fewer eggs per hen over 62 weeks, a loss of .2 grams in egg weight, and loss of profit of 42 cents per hen.

For piglets, it can mean a loss of 6.8 grams of average daily gain per piglet per day, a gain of .5 percent in feed conversion ratio per piglet, a loss of $6.42 per pig in margin over feed, and one extra day to reach desired market weight.

For grow/finish pigs, it can mean a loss of 24 grams of average daily gain per pig per day, a gain of 14 percent in feed conversion ratio, a loss of $3.09 carcass profit per pig, and four extra days to reach desired market weight.

Over a large flock or herd, these losses can add up quickly for producers.