There have been several reports of mold in feeds this year. In addition, reports of animal health problems due to toxins in feeds have been more frequent than usual. Higher levels of the mold and spoilage means an increased potential for mycotoxins in feeds.
It is important to remember that just because feeds have visible molds does not automatically mean that toxins are present, but it does indicate that there is an increased risk that they are. In addition, feeds not showing visible mold and spoilage could have toxins present.
We are strongly encouraging producers to test any suspect feeds this year for mycotoxins to know what the status of the feed is, in order to manage accordingly.
Following are links to additional resources to help beef producers take good samples to submit for testing, frequently asked questions about mycotoxins and a list of laboratories that you can send samples to for testing.
If your feeds have elevated levels of toxins options include diluting with clean feeds to get toxin level of the total ration to safe levels, use of binders or just not using feeds with high levels of toxins. Work with your nutritionist to determine the best solution for your situation.
Contract your local Extension Office for additional information.
If in doubt test the feeds!!
Written by: Bill Halfman and Dr. Megan Nelson, UW Madison Division of Extension Ag Agent- Monroe County and UW Madison Division of Extension Livestock Program Manager respectively.