ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Putting up silage is always an Olympic effort by a farm team. Nevertheless, ensiling forages in a timely and precise manner is pivotal and the foundation of a strong nutrition program. Forages contribute a significant percentage to a conventional TMR (total mixed ration) and capturing the highest nutritional value available is a huge asset to any producer. Conversely, naturally occurring molds, like fusarium, can not only lower forage quality but hurt the health of livestock when forage is incorrectly ensiled. This article will discuss how to identify fusarium molds and control steps producers can take.
If the less desirable crop conditions mentioned in last week’s part-1 article, are met, moldy feed may lead to Fusarium toxin production. One such fusarium toxin is Deoxynivalenol (DON) or vomitoxin. It is important to state that DON does not have a marked effect on cattle but there are some reports of digestive upset, reproductive problems, negative effects on production and feed intake.
Testing for mycotoxins can be challenging and expensive. This is an opportunity to work with your nutritionist and a forage lab to determine the best approach if you believe mycotoxins may be a potential problem. When working with your local forage testing lab to determine DON levels in feeds, maximum levels are suggested to be between 0.32 and 6 ppm. Lab tests that indicate high content of DON may be a marker for other more problematic molds.
When working with feeds suspected of having high mycotoxin loads, producers can work with their nutritionist to take appropriate steps like the following:
* Dilute contaminated feed with uncontaminated feed
* Consider an increase in antioxidant nutrients including selenium, vitamins A and E, and trace minerals
* Feed binders to minimize the effects of mycotoxins
The information for the above article was from UMN Extension (https://z.umn.edu/UMNExtDroughtMoldDairy), NDSU Extension (https://z.umn.edu/NDSUCornSilageMold) and Penn State Extension (https://z.umn.edu/PennSTMoldMycotoxins). Residents of Stearns, Benton, and Morrison counties can direct questions to either my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call my desk phone at (320) 255-6169 x 3.
— Dana Adams, University of Minnesota Extension