Molds are found almost everywhere and can grow in fodder during production, storage, transport, processing or feeding. The problem for livestock producers is that molds in feeds can manufacture harmful mycotoxins reducing milk or egg production, disease resistance, feed conversion, reproduction rates, and profits. Molds may be present if you detect caking, musty smells, flow difficulties, excessive heating, or off color in your feed.
Some of the most toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic offenders are polar mycotoxins like fumonisins and aflatoxins, which can be passed through to milk destined for human consumption. FDA regulations require that milk not contain aflatoxins above 0.5 parts per billion.
While plant stress and damage often facilitate mold growth, animal stress facilitates toxin susceptibility. Young animals, intensive production, or a poor environment all foster vulnerability to mycotoxins. This means that less toxins are needed to produce clinical disease.
There is no safe level of mycotoxins. They negatively impact livestock of all kinds from sheep and dairy cattle through swine and poultry. Learn how to address mycotoxicity in your operation.
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