Editor’s note: The following information was provided by Max Hawkins of Alltech.It first appeared in the Jan. 18 edition of Nutritionist e-Network newsletter published by Dairy Herd Management. 

Due to extreme drought and increased temperatures, the 2012 corn crop created a perfect environment for Aspergillis mold to flourish and to further produce aflatoxins. As discussed in earlier media reports, this created a concern for aflatoxin issues, especially with dairy producers. Aflatoxin B1 is regulated at 20 ppb in the feed and its associated derivative aflatoxin M1 in the milk at 0.5 ppb in the milk.

In July, Alltech’s North American Harvest Analysis started running samples through its 37+ Lab in Winchester, Ky., in order to identify mold and mycotoxin concerns with the corn crop. Aflatoxin was found, but not on a wide basis. It tended to be more regionalized. The survey did, however, identify a more wide-ranging effect with other mycotoxins. Fumonisin was identified in almost 100 percent of all samples over the corn-growing region. Other mycotoxins found throughout the Corn Belt were DON, T-2 and penicilliums.

Among the corn and corn silage samples, the greatest percentage contained multiple mycotoxins.

Ninety-two percent of all samples contained anywhere from two to 10 mycotoxins. This indicates that if a dairy producer only tries to control aflatoxin, there is the potential for remaining mycotoxins present that can also affect the cow. These effects can include reduced feed intake, gut irritation, reduced milk production, reproductive inefficiency and a lowered immune status.

The key take-home message from the 2012 corn crop: Expect a wide variety of mycotoxin issues in all
corn-based feed ingredients.