When producers think of mycotoxins, they often think of the big six: aflatoxin, deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin, fumonisin, ochratoxin and zearalenone. The primary effects of these toxins on performance and health of production animals are known, and regulatory guidance on threshold levels for these toxins in grains and feed exist. The problem is focusing in on these toxins alone equates to tunnel vision in the broader fight against the 300+ mycotoxins known to contaminate animal feed.
Corn-based ethanol production in the United States allows livestock and poultry producers the availability of dried distiller grains for use in rations. As with any by-product, the quality of these ingredients is highly variable. Because distiller grains are the by-product of ethanol fermentation, wet distiller grains (WDG) and distiller grains with solubles (DDGS) contain very low levels of mold and wild yeast, but quality can degrade rapidly if not stored correctly.
On July 10, 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released their World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). In this report, United States corn production was forecasted at 15.0 billion bushels. The national average corn yield is unchanged at 178.5 bushels per acre. Projected feed and residual use were 5.85 billion bushels and good, seed, and industrial was 6.625 billion bushels. Based off these, and other data, the USDA estimated the 2021 ending stocks will be 2.648 billion bushels, up 400 million bushels from 2.248 billion in 2020.
Mycotoxins are a costly, complicated problem for livestock and poultry producers. Not only are there hundreds of different mycotoxins, all produced by different fungi and environmental factors, but each category of toxins and each toxin within those categories can impact animals and birds differently. For producers, that means becoming aware of the major toxins and knowing the signs and symptoms of toxin exposure are critical to reduce the risk of mycotoxins eroding animal health and performance.
Managing feed costs has never been more critical to livestock and poultry producer profitability. But, as producers consider changing diet formulations to lower feed costs, it's critical to stress the importance of ingredient quality management. Understanding the risk factors associated with feed ingredients — new and old — is both practical and important.
Read this report to better understand what you can do to ensure high-quality and clean feed is being fed to animals! For the past 4-5 months, livestock and poultry producers have been feeding corn grown in 2019. While there are areas of the corn growing region where mold and mycotoxins are higher than prior years, corn samples submitted to Kemin Customer Laboratory Services (CLS) are arriving with lower levels of mold but similar levels of mycotoxins when compared with 2018 corn. In 2019-2020, Kemin CLS has analyzed 144 samples of corn for mold and mycotoxins – see the results.
Supplementing vitamins in the right amounts at the right time is critical for balanced animal nutrition. But balancing an animal’s nutritional needs and a diet’s formulation cost can become a nutritionist’s nightmare when vitamin availability is compromised, or prices are unusually high. Worse yet, reactive premix ingredients – choline chloride and inorganic trace minerals – can have an aggressive effect on vitamin destruction via oxidation. To manage vitamins costs, protecting vitamins from oxidation is key.
Not only are vitamins involved in over 30 metabolic reactions, but they also play key roles in managing internal cellular stress, immunological defense systems and the overall health of animals. So, although they make up less than 1 percent of the diet, vitamins are vital ingredients for optimal growth, health, reproduction and performance of livestock and poultry.
Animal feeds play a leading role in the global food industry, enabling the economical production of products of animal origin throughout the world. They may be produced in industrial feed mills or in simple on-farm mixers. Manufactured feeds are used to grow or maintain animals for food, fiber and other products under a wide range of farming conditions.
There’s bad news if you feed livestock: Nearly all of the world’s feed grain supply is contaminated with at least one mycotoxin. Almost 2/3 of corn harvested in 2018 that was tested by Kemin Customer Laboratory Services (CLS) was positive for mycotoxins. More importantly, however, nearly 50% of those samples contained multiple toxins.
Environmental stressors like extreme heat and management factors such as movement to new barns or housing units can cause a breakdown in an animal’s natural defenses. That’s when mycotoxins like trichothecenes (T-2 and deoxynivalenol (DON)) can infiltrate internal systems and cause sometimes severe — even fatal — damage when left unchecked.
Heat, energy, water and oxygen: they’re four essential elements critical to just about every form of life on the planet. Provided those things, even the most infinitesimally small organisms can flourish. In the case of mycotoxin-producing molds, that vigor can become costly for livestock producers. Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites that are produced by mold in stored grain or growing plants. The production of mycotoxins is essentially a defensive response by the growing mold triggered by an environmental factor, like temperature, oxygen, pH or moisture.
Managing mycotoxin contaminated feed ingredients is a constant challenge for animal producers. Mycotoxins are produced by both field and storage molds, and – even when fed at low levels – can have a detrimental impact on livestock and poultry performance. To make matters worse, grains are frequently contaminated with multiple mycotoxins, and research suggests toxic synergies may exist with certain mycotoxin combinations. Absorption of mycotoxins by the gastrointestinal (GI) tract may result in immunological dysfunction, malabsorption of nutrients and ultimately, losses in weight and performance.
After the winter polar vortex and the floods of spring, we are ready for summer. To consumers, summer means sunshine, baseball, fishing and ice cream. For producers, however, hot humid weather means heat stress, which can negatively impact performance of livestock and poultry and decrease profitability of your business. One method used to counter decreased feed intake associated with summer heat stress is to include supplemental fats and oils in animal rations which increase the energy density and palatability of diets. But oxidation – a major source of decreased fat quality – also speeds up with summer heat. Do you have a plan to protect your supplemental fats and oils from oxidation this summer?
What causes fats to oxidize? Time of storage, application of heat and the mixing of different lipid sources all have an impact on fat quality, and specifically on influencing oxidation. Oxidation is an irreversible, naturally-occurring process where fatty acids are attacked by free radicals resulting in production of harmful byproducts, including peroxides and aldehydes. This process reduces the energy value of the fat and can have deleterious effects on growth performance. Once oxidation starts, the damage cannot be undone, so preventing oxidation should be a top priority for producers.
Delayed harvest of corn and soybeans in 2018 across the midwestern U.S. are raising concerns about grain quality and how well this crop will store long term. With commercial grain facilities holding a large carryover from the big 2017 crop, some 2017 carry-over corn and much of the 2018 corn crop will end up in outdoor piles again. Managing grain in outdoor piles was the subject of a previous grain operations article. This article focuses on managing stored corn and soybeans long term in permanent structures such as bins, silos, tanks and horizontal sheds where managers have more tools available, including coring, controlled aeration, temperature and moisture monitoring, and partial unloading.
Mycotoxins are toxic and/or carcinogenic molecules produced by growing fungi, specifically the various mold species which grow on plants. The toxigenic fungi involved in the human and animal food chains belong mainly to three genera: Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium. Each of these molds can produce more than one toxin and some toxins are produced by more than one mold. Once we have mycotoxins in our crop, what options exist for livestock and poultry producers?
The 2018 corn harvest season will certainly remain in our memory for a long time. Drought conditions during the summer in the southern corn belt, along with flooding in the north, had many forecasters wondering if we would have another record large corn crop in the U.S.A. This all changed in September when, according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we experienced the third wettest September on record.
The hot summer weather is beginning to wind down now – but it’s always a good time to ask, “how is my fat looking?” Monitoring the quality of your incoming fat sources is the primary step in effective fat management. The impacts of oxidation are irreversible, so it is crucial to begin with high-quality fat and then maintain that quality. Oxidized fat that has been negatively impacted by heat, light and oxygen can have a damaging impact on your animals. This impact can be seen across performance, health and nutrition through decreased growth, immunity challenges, loss of energy content in the fat itself and an array of other issues.
On August 3, 2018, China reported its first case of African Swine Fever (ASF). The first outbreak of the deadly disease (found in the country’s northeast region), was a wake-up call for the North American pork industry. As expected, China immediately implemented a number of restrictions and management tactics to contain the spread of the disease. However, as history has shown, despite good management practices, the spread of disease can still occur – even across oceans.
Knowing the quality of the components going into your livestock feed is crucial to the success of your operation. Most formulation software packages assign standard nutritional values for the components in a diet. But, what happens when the quality of these components does not match that assigned by the software program? You may not see the impact of nutritional variability of the diet in your day-to-day livestock performance, but it can ultimately manifest itself in feed intake, daily gain and animal health over time.
Water. It is a major part of our everyday lives. It is one of the most essential components to our survival, and we take our access to a clean and safe water supply very seriously. The question is, do we put that same amount of emphasis on the quality of water we are providing to our livestock and poultry? Is the quality good enough to make you want to drink from your animals’ waterer?
Livestock and poultry producers are all aware of the presence of potentially-harmful mycotoxins in grain. It seems every day there is a new report declaring the newest hot spot for mycotoxin contamination. So, why does it suddenly feel like mycotoxins are found everywhere? A large reason for the increased focus on mycotoxin contamination is reporting. There is a growing database related to the detrimental impact that even low levels of mycotoxins can have on livestock production. With this increased awareness, the focus now shifts to signs and symptoms of mycotoxin contamination and what producers can do to mitigate their impact.
Feed represents the largest expense in the yearly budget for livestock and poultry producers. To control feed costs, feed ingredient buyers often seek the best price for these inputs. The best price for feed ingredients may not always be the best value. The quality of individual feed ingredients delivered to livestock and poultry production complexes need to be more fully scrutinized to determine the value of individual ingredients. The quality of feed components should be subject to review by purchasing staff; however, to ensure quality is monitored closely, purchasing and production staff must be closely aligned. Feed ingredient buyers need to be aware of quality when purchasing the feed ingredients for a livestock and poultry operation. The profitability of the business depends on it.
If you asked any farmer, they would agree that harvest is one of the best times of the year. Nothing brings that overwhelming feeling of satisfaction quite like watching the combine hopper fill with the fruits of their labor. During this time of "harvest celebration" it may be easy for one to think all the work is done. However, when it comes to maintaining the quality of grain after harvest, the work hasn't even started.
Times are changing for swine and poultry producers. Driven by consumer demands, animal production practices are now seeing a reduction in the amount of antibiotics used. With this reduction in antibiotic usage, producers are discovering a new set of management challenges which can have implications on animal health and performance. When using medications, at times, feed and water quality problems can be disguised. However, in today's production systems, those previously low priority concerns are now becoming increasingly important issues.
Vitamins are essential for animal growth, health, reproduction and performance. Factors such as temperature, oxygen, light and catalysts can all negatively impact vitamin stability in feed. Preservation of vitamins in the feed matrix can be accomplished through the addition of an antioxidant. For the best vitamin protection, an antioxidant system like ENDOX®, which includes a blend of oxygen and free radical scavenging antioxidants and metal chelators, should be used.
The most common reason for customers to return bagged feed is mold. Even when care is taken to ensure all ingredients are dry and only the highest quality raw materials are sourced, mold can become an issue once the feed is bagged and shipped. The three most common reasons for mold growth are heat, moisture and time — and bags are the perfect environment for all three.
The purpose of this floor pen trial was to evaluate the ability of a natural zeolite clay feed additive (KALLSIL™) to lessen the effects of a mycotoxin-contaminated diet on turkey hen poult performance. Based on the results of this study, inclusion of KALLSIL may support overall performance of turkey hen poults, particularly when using feed grains, which may contain dietary mycotoxins.
High-quality drinking water is essential to animal health and performance, so providing clean water should be a top priority for producers. Organic acids can be used to control, inhibit and eliminate bacteria in drinking water, reducing pathogen exposure to the upper gastrointestinal tract of the animal. KEM SAN provides an effective blend of key organic acids with proven efficacy against a broad range of pathogenic bacteria.
The purpose of this evaluation, the first of a series of pelleting demonstrations, was to determine if MillSAVOR™ Liquid Concentrate would perform similar to or better than a competitive pelleting aid in a large commercial broiler feed mill. In the final analysis, this evaluation determined MillSAVOR Liquid Concentrate was significantly better than the competitive product.
A summary of a MillSAVOR™ Liquid Concentrate trial at a poultry feed mill in the United States. During this evaluation, the use of MillSAVOR Liquid Concentrate improved tons per hour, reduced amps per ton and reduced motor load when compared to a competitive milling aid. In addition to improving key milling performance measures, the use MillSAVOR Liquid Concentrate improved pellet durability index and did not negatively impact the accumulation of fine feed particles.
In this evaluation, it was shown MillSAVOR™ Liquid Concentrate provided improvements in pellet milling efficiency when compared to control feed. Regardless of the feed type, grower or finisher, the application of 2 ounces of MillSAVOR Liquid Concentrate enhanced milling performance. Additional parameters measured were also improved. The goal is not to impact pellet durability during the improvement in performance. This evaluation showed MillSAVOR Liquid Concentrate did not have a negative impact on PDI.
Oxidation effects on lipid quality can be a major factor in the reduction of livestock and poultry feed quality. Lipid oxidation is an irreversible, naturally occurring process where fatty acids are attacked by free radicals and oxygen is absorbed. Oxidation dramatically affects the quality of fats and oils, which has been shown to have direct impacts on animal health and performance.
Fat Tank Case Study
Fat quality solutions start with the purchasing of quality fat. However, high-quality fat can be negatively impacted by storage time, application of heat and the mixing of different lipid sources in a fat tank. Management practices often focus on minimizing storage time, but unfortunately this practice does not account for the layer of fat coating the inside of the tank and sludge buildup at the bottom. Treating fat with a RENDOX antioxidant system can preserve fat and help clean and stabilize your fat storage tank.
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