Mycotoxins may be putting brake on herd performance
Cows with above average yields on a high maize diet are at risk of suffering from mycotoxin ‘poisoning’ this coming winter. That’s the warning from company microbiologist
Dr David Parfitt as he predicts high spore levels on forages following this season’s peculiar weather pattern. Now the company plans to launch the first ever test for mycotoxins which not only identifies the five basic types but shows their full range of analogues. “There are two agents in the rumen which destroy mycotoxins and they are protozoa and a particular group of fungi,” says Dr Parfitt of the Bridgwater-based Micron Bio-Systems.
“But both these types are sensitive to acid and if the rumen is at 6.7pH or above they will work to destroy the mycotoxins, but below 6.0 the cow is becoming sub-clinically acidotic and these bugs die,” he explains.
Mycotoxins occur when mould spores land on a crop, mop up nutrients and establish themselves. As the fungus matures, it goes into its reproductive phase, when he mycotoxins are formed.