North America

Walking the Fields: What is the 2014 Crop Bringing in Addition to High Yields?

Dr. Max Hawkins, nutritionist with Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management Team, reported the latest crop results from Alltech’s 37+™ analysis during the company’s annual webinar, ‘Walking the Fields.’

[LEXINGTON, Ky.] –While experts are forecasting a record-plus year for yields, an abundant harvest does not always indicate a problem-free crop to feed to livestock. Preliminary data conducted by Alltech’s 37+ Mycotoxin Analysis Program is now showing there might be more than meets the eye in the fields.

Late season rains have slowed harvest across the Midwest. As of Oct. 27, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated the corn harvest at 46 percent, a 15 percent increase from last week, but 19 percent behind the five-year average. Corn conditions were estimated by the USDA at 74 percent “good” or “excellent” condition, 19 percent was considered “fair” and only 7 percent was considered “poor”.

While these initial condition ratings look favorable, experts warn that seasonal conditions still might have taken a toll on the crop and left behind some masked mycotoxins.

“Cool, wet weather can be a precursor for mold growth and can lead to possible mycotoxin issues,” said Dr. Max Hawkins, nutritionist with Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management Team. “Fusarium graminareum can produce a variety of mycotoxins and prefers high moisture and temperatures from 59 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This year’s growing season was cool and wet and the harvest season has also been delayed by wet weather.”

An early indication of the Fusarium issue was found in the wheat crop, where high levels of Deoxynivalenol (DON) were found east of the Mississippi River, Dakotas and into Canada. DON levels in these regions ranged from 1,000 ppb to 15,000 ppb. According to Hawkins, this places wheat at a potential high risk for livestock feed, and extreme caution should be used when feeding straw to ruminants.

Corn silage samples have also indicated there might be challenges in the 2014 crop.

“The 2014 corn season started off slow due to wet planting conditions and cool soil temperatures. As a result, while some corn was planted in April, most was done in early to mid-May and in some cases like northern Iowa, planting extended into June,” said Heath Paradice, technical manager for Alltech Crop Science. “The late planted crops are doing better than expected due to a late fall, but that corn is coming in at a higher moisture content.”

 The first 35 corn silage samples analyzed at the recently ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited Analytical Services Laboratory of Alltech using Alltech’s 37+ analysis contained an average of 6.83 mycotoxins per sample. Further analysis showed that Type B Trichothecenes, DON and other DON group mycotoxins had an average/sample of 2,087 ppb. Fusaric Acid, which can act synergistically with DON, had an average/sample of 1,322 ppb.

“Combined, these mycotoxins can have a significant impact on dry matter intake, milk production, growth rate, feed efficiency, gut health, organ function and immune response,” Hawkins said.

With an average/sample level of 126.7 ppb, Zearalenone is showing levels higher than in the past two years. Other Penicilliums, which can impact gut health and rumen function, are typically referred to as “storage mycotoxins” as they require little oxygen and can flourish rapidly in stored forages. Hawkins said this year’s crop has had some relatively high Penicillium levels already at harvest.

Corn that is stressed and damaged by weather events and insects is more susceptible to mycotoxins. While walking fields and looking for signs of molds, ear rot and stalk rot can be indicators for mycotoxins, there can be toxins present with no visible mold. Hawkins recommends having samples analyzed for mycotoxins.

“The outlook for corn grain is concerning as the crop has been subjected to a later harvest with increased rain while still in the field,” Hawkins said. “The crop may be harvested at higher moisture levels, which can put added pressure on drying and storage environment to ensure grain at 15 percent moisture or less for long term storage. An analysis such as Alltech’s 37+ can provide a more in-depth picture of the mycotoxins present and how they may impact livestock health and performance.”

Alltech Wisconsin Announces 2014 Dairy School Starting Lineup

[JUNEAU, Wis.] – Volatile milk prices alongside increased feed costs have caused many dairy producers to re-examine their playbooks and develop a new defense strategy, but the Alltech Wisconsin Dairy School is urging them to consider working on offense instead this year, asking “Are you in it to win it?”

A day dedicated to farmers, nutritionists and industry professionals to learn from experts on the latest innovations, practical concepts, marketing trends and management tools used in today’s dairy industry, the 11th annual Alltech Wisconsin Dairy School will be held Thursday, Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin. 

A pre-conference breakfast will kick off the event from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Jake Peissig, JTP Farms, and Ray Deidrich, Deidrich Farms, will give a virtual tour of their farms and share their experiences transitioning from labor to robotics in their presentation, “Robotic milkers: Are they the future?”

The main conference will follow at 10 a.m. and will feature several current dairy industry topics:

  • “Do robotics have a place on your dairy?” Jack Rodenbury, DairyLogix Canada
  • “Don’t let mycotoxins intercept your profits!” Nick Adams, Alltech Mycotoxin Management Team
  • “Creating a winning environment: Does your team have what it takes?” Tom Lorenzen, Alltech On-Farm Specialist
  • “Game changers: Where to see the greatest return within your dairy” Brad Rortvedt, Alltech Territory Sales Manager

This year’s featured guest speaker will be former Green Bay Packer running back Ahman Green, an all-time leading rusher for the Green Bay Packers and a member of the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame. Green will present, “Are you in it to win it like the Packers?”

For more information or to register for this free event, please contact the Alltech Wisconsin office at (920) 386-9651 or

Alltech Appoints Aidan Connolly as Chief Innovation Officer

Aidan Connolly has been named Alltech’s Chief Innovation Officer, responsible for the commercialization of Alltech’s research. He will be based at Alltech’s corporate headquarters near Lexington, Kentucky, USA.

[LEXINGTON, Ky.] – Global animal health and nutrition leader Alltech has appointed vice president Aidan Connolly as Chief Innovation Officer, connected to the company’s global research department. Working closely with Dr. Karl Dawson, vice president and Chief Scientific Officer, Connolly will be involved with Alltech’s innovation pipeline and lead the commercialization of the company’s research programs.

In his new role, Connolly will put together a team within the company’s research department that will primarily focus on developing innovative, nutrition-based technologies. Their new product development will capitalize on the insights gained through the company’s considerable investment in nutrigenomics, the science of how diet affects gene expression.  

“Giving a rapid and effective response, backed up by cutting-edge scientific research, to the market’s changing needs, has always been one of Alltech’s biggest strengths. It is all about how these technologies are implemented to the market,” said Connolly.

Connolly brings a strong commercial background to Alltech’s research team. He graduated from University College Dublin with a master’s degree in international marketing. He has been with Alltech for nearly 25 years, initially in Ireland, and then in France, Brazil and the United States. From 2002 until 2008, Connolly held the position of vice president of Europe and was most recently based in Washington, D.C., as vice president of corporate accounts.

Today, Connolly is an adjunct professor of marketing at University College Dublin and a professor of agribusiness at the China Agricultural University in Beijing. He is also an executive board member of the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF), the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), the National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation, and a former board member of the European Union Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures (FEFANA).

“As Alltech is moving forward to become a $4 billion company in the next 4-5 years, it is crucial that the company’s research and technical teams work hand-in-hand with sales and marketing. With Aidan joining our group, we will be even more strongly placed to support the industry with science-based nutritional solutions,” said Dr. Karl Dawson, vice president, Chief Scientific Officer at Alltech.

Based at Alltech’s Center for Nutrigenomics and Applied Animal Nutrition at Alltech’s corporate headquarters near Lexington, Kentucky, Connolly will also maintain his current responsibilities as vice president, corporate accounts at Alltech. Connolly is well-known as the architect of Alltech’s annual global feed survey, which assesses global feed tonnage in more than 130 countries.

A Pink Pour: Special Edition Town Branch® Bourbon Supports Kentucky CancerLink; Winning Brew-off Ale Also Hits Market

A new limited edition pink label Town Branch® Bourbon just hit the local market from Town Branch Distillery and will raise money for Kentucky CancerLink to provide support to those diagnosed with breast cancer as well as their families. The special bottles will only be available in select locations throughout Kentucky for a limited time during Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. Five dollars from each bottle sold will be donated to statewide nonprofit Kentucky CancerLink.
[LEXINGTON, Ky.] – It’s bourbon, it’s packaged in pink, and buying it will help those affected by breast cancer in Kentucky. A new limited edition pink label Town Branch® Bourbon just hit the local market and will raise money to provide support to those diagnosed with breast cancer as well as their families. The special bottles will only be available in select locations throughout Kentucky for a limited time during Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October.
Five dollars from each bottle sold will be donated to the statewide nonprofit Kentucky CancerLink from Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. and distributor Kentucky Eagle. Kentucky CancerLink, formerly known as Kentucky Pink Connection, provides transportation, mastectomy and lymphedema supplies, wigs, childcare assistance, and more to clients in need, with the goal of reducing or eliminating barriers to screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
“We wanted to do something to help, as breast cancer is so prevalent. Stop anyone on the street and they will know someone affected by this disease,” said Hal Gervis, global sales director for Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.“This is one small way in which we can raise awareness through the pink label and also provide support to those in our local community who need the help during a difficult time.”
Joining the pink label Town Branch® Bourbon is a new, limited-edition brew from the company – a light-bodied, chocolatey ale that won the 8th Annual Kentucky Ale Brew-off. The beer has been dubbed Pikeville Porter as a nod to the upcoming sister brewery and distillery Alltech is building in downtown Pikeville and will soon be available statewide on tap only while supplies last. A collectible mason jar with the logo of the limited edition brew will be used during some pint night and “keep the glass” promotions at on-premise locations. Follow the Kentucky Ale Facebook page for more details. 
The recipe was created by husband and wife duo Chad and Mary Shive of Lexington, who have been brewing beer together “just for fun” in their garage since 2008. This was the first time one of the Shives’ concoctions has taken home a first place cup, though others have won in their respective categories at various homebrew competitions across the Bluegrass.
“Kentucky craft beer fans look forward to the limited edition Kentucky Ale Brew-off release every year,” said Ken Lee, master brewer for Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. who is also charged with scaling up the homebrewers’ recipe at the brewery.  “It’s something novel, something kind of fun, and the best part is that it helps support the local homebrewing community.”
Recent winning entries of the Kentucky Ale Brew-Off include last year’s Black Mountain India Pale Ale, Hopfield and McCoy Imperial India Pale Ale, Kentucky Appalachian Ale, and Kentucky Coal Porter. The 9th annual Kentucky Ale Brew-Off will take place in May 2015.

Alltech’s 37+ Mycotoxin Analysis Earns 2014 Dairy Herd Management Innovation Award

From the left, Dave Natzke, editor of Dairy Herd Management, presents the Dairy Herd Management Innovation Award to Dan Weiland, regional sales manager for Alltech Wisconsin, at the publication’s reception during World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

[MADISON, Wis.] – The results are in. When it comes to mycotoxin analysis, dairy farmers want the most comprehensive evaluation possible in order to safeguard their operations. Alltech’s 37+TM Mycotoxin Analysis Program was one of 10 recipients selected for the 2014 Dairy Herd Management Innovation Award.

The fourth annual Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards were presented Sept. 30 at the Sheraton Hotel during World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, recognizing game-changers for the dairy industry in the areas of efficiency, functionality and technology. 

“There is no analytical method, risk assessment and on-site audit service similar to the 37+ program. By analyzing for more than 37 different mycotoxins at ppb and ppt levels, one is able to see the entire contamination profile and prepare for the cumulative and synergistic impact of multiple low level mycotoxins over time,” said Nick Adams, global sales director for the Alltech Mycotoxin Management Team. “The 37+ program’s feed analysis and risk assessment is coupled with an on-site audit evaluating feed storage, and operational logistics based on HAACP principles. The herd manager has access to a powerful tool to deal proactively rather than reactively with optimizing the health and productivity of the operation.”

Entries for the award were evaluated by Dairy Herd Management's panel of dairy farmers, agribusiness representatives and university experts and were judged on their originality within the marketplace, usefulness and value to dairy farmers.

The 37+ program, using an improved liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry method analyzes for multiple mycotoxin contamination in a given feed sample. The program provides a risk assessment and calculates the risk equivalent quantity (risk factor multiplied by the quantity of mycotoxin) for that particular feedstuff sample. The mycotoxin management team then provides a complete contamination report and recommendations for management and nutritional applications that can assist with mycotoxin prevention and control.  

Alltech, a leader in animal health and performance, had previously earned a one-star innovation award for its Mycotoxin Management Program from INNOV’SPACE in France, a distinction program that awards new product and service innovations in agriculture. Alltech’s complete 37+ Mycotoxin Analysis Program was officially launched to farmers in North America in November 2013 with the company’s first North American Harvest Analysis Survey.

‘Beer Masters’: Alltech Celebrates 16th Master’s Grad in Yeast Fermentation Technology

Jon Brown is the 16th Alltech employee to receive an advanced formal degree in brewing and distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. Brown is an applications research specialist at Alltech and works specifically on optimizing solid state fermentation (SSF) production and researching new SSF microorganisms and substrates.

[LEXINGTON, Ky.] – Specializing in brewing and distilling may sound like the wishful thinking of many a university student, but it is indeed a formal degree, and leading biotechnology company Alltech considers master’s graduates from the program to be essential to its core business and new product development. For this reason, the company is proud to congratulate its 16th employee to receive a master’s degree in brewing and distilling from Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University, known for producing some of the foremost brewing and yeast fermentation experts in the world.

According to Becky Timmons, global director of applications research and quality assurance for Alltech, Heriot-Watt’s course is the most helpful and practical advanced education for employees given Alltech’s focus on yeast fermentation technologies. Employees who have participated in the program include researchers, quality specialists and senior salespeople.

“A brewing and distilling master’s program is not just about drinking beer and making whiskey,” said Timmons. “Yeast fermentation is fundamental to our core business in animal health and nutrition. To understand our products and what they do, this is the best course you can take.”

Alltech works with universities globally to collaborate on research, create further educational opportunities for its employees and provide work experiences to the universities’ current students. To date, the company has inked 20 formal research alliances with universities in all corners of the world.

Although Alltech does not currently have a formal research alliance with Heriot-Watt, it does have a long-standing relationship. Since 2000, 16 Alltech employees have obtained a master’s degree in brewing and distilling from the Scottish university.

Although employees are required to pay 20 percent of the program tuition initially as a representation of their personal commitment, Alltech covers the entire tuition for employees upon their graduation. Heriot-Watt’s program involves nine modules, which may be taken independently, an on-site summer practicum and a thesis. Most employees complete their degree within four years.

The growing wealth of expertise is exciting to Timmons and Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech.

“These graduates will be the pioneers of our new product development,” said Dr. Lyons. “They also represent the specialized yeast fermentation technology expertise that we’ll be bringing to our new Alltech Brewing & Distilling Academy in Lexington, Ky., USA.”

The Heriot-Watt graduates to date, including Dr. Mark Lyons and Timmons herself, have assumed integral roles in the company in the areas of regional management, quality, engineering, research, product development and regulatory affairs. Their expertise has been applied to a variety of Alltech’s global initiatives ranging from algae and animal nutrition product development to the company’s growing international beverage division, which produces the Kentucky Ale® family of beers, as well as Town Branch® bourbon and other spirits.

In addition to the 16 graduates, there are six employees in the program currently as well as a number of other employees who will be commencing their studies soon.

Heriot-Watt has an illustrious history, with faculty members having included Anna McCloud, often considered to be one of the founders of modern brewing science; David Manners, one of the finest starch researchers in the world; George Bathgate and Geoff Palmer with numerous publications in the areas of malts and barleys; Graham Stewart, a leader in the development of  high gravity brewing and the 2013 recipient of the Outstanding Service in Brewing and Distilling award from Alltech; and Inge Russell, a renowned yeast expert, the editor of the Journal of the Institute of Brewing and scientific advisor to the Alltech Young Scientist Competition. The school is recognized globally for its specialty program in brewing, distilling and yeast fermentation technology.

Mineral Requirements to Be Reevaluated at Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference

[INDIANAPOLIS] – Is there a shift coming in pig mineral nutrition? According to one swine nutrition expert, change is inevitable – and overdue.

“Trace minerals are often supplemented into swine diets at levels above recommendations in the belief that this will enhance productive performance,” said Dr. Don Mahan, professor emeritus at Ohio State University. “This method can negatively affect not only the animals, but also the consumer and environment, as a greater level of trace mineral supplementation into diets can result in the additional excretion of minerals and more mineral waste flowing into the environment.”

The National Research Council (NRC) routinely publishes a review of the nutritional requirements for swine based on the available scientific literature; however, Mahan said that the relevance of most of the published literature is questionable, particularly in the mineral area.

Mahan will present some of his recent studies on addressing proper mineral nutrition at the Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sept. 4. The paper, “A New Approach in Determining the Micro Mineral Needs of the Growing Pig,” highlights how the current NRC recommendations for micromineral supplementation are well above the pig’s requirement. One conclusion from his studies is that when mineral levels at or above 50 percent of the NRC (1998, 2012) requirements were fed, there was no effect on pig performance.

Mahan’s paper also indicates that organic trace mineral digestibility values averaged 20 percent greater than the digestibility of inorganic trace minerals. Mahan said that it is important to not only look at the mineral levels that are being fed to pigs, but also the source of the minerals. Organic trace minerals offer a form of supplementation that can be more naturally absorbed, stored and utilized by the animal.

Though there has been limited new research carried out in the area of trace mineral nutrition recommendations, Alltech has remained steadfast in the investigation of the nutritional benefits and appropriate levels of organic trace minerals for animals and their effects on the consumer and environment. To that end, Alltech has partnered with scientific experts, such as Mahan, in the investigation of trace mineral technology.

“As an industry, our focus, now more than ever, needs to be on efficiency. With proven methods for attaining improved productivity with less input, we need to further examine utilizing these technologies,” said Dr. Ryan Samuel, research project manager at Alltech. “In fact, current recommendations for mineral nutrition may be adding to the inefficiency and waste coming from our pigs’ diets.”

Alltech is proud to once again be a sponsor of the Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference held annually since 2000.

Kansas State University Student Receives 2014 Forrest Bassford Award

Ann Hess, North America field PR manager for Alltech, presents the Livestock Production Council Forrest Bassford Student Award to the 2014 winner Logan Britton, Kansas State University, at the Ag Media Summit.

[FORT WORTH] – Logan Britton, a senior majoring in agricultural communications and agriculture economics at Kansas State University (KSU), is the recipient of the 2014 Livestock Publications Council (LPC) Forrest Bassford Student Award sponsored by Alltech. Britton was presented a $2,000 scholarship and a plaque during the Ag Media Summit (AMS) held in Indianapolis, Indiana, July 26-30.

Britton, the son of Tara and Henry Britton from Bartlett, Kansas, is an active member of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), Student National Agri-Marketing Association and the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. He is a KSU College of Agriculture ambassador. Britton also serves on the KSU College of Agriculture student council as a student senator. He is a member of LPC, the American Agricultural Editor’s Association (AAEA) and National FFA Alumni Association.

In addition to his involvement in collegiate clubs and national organizations, Britton serves as the office manager for the KSU College of Agriculture academic programs and a teaching assistant in the department of communications and agricultural education. This summer, he is participating in an internship sponsored by AAEA with the National FFA organization. 

“I didn’t grow up living on a farm or showing livestock. Realizing how important agriculture is, I want to bridge the gap that exists between the field and the plate today,” said Britton. “I owe several people for opportunities provided to me and my growth – I’m truly honored to receive this award.”

The Forrest Bassford award honors excellence, professionalism and leadership among students. Each year, following a competitive application process, the LPC Student Award Program presents four young people travel scholarships to attend AMS. In addition to Britton, this year's travel award winners were Breanne Brammer, University of Missouri; Courtney Leeper, University of Missouri and Lynsey Meharg, Texas Tech University. While at the meeting, the four finalists’ portfolios were reviewed and each was interviewed by a panel of professionals.

2014 marks the 29th year for the Student Award Program. Forrest Bassford's name was appended to the LPC Student Award in 1992 in honor of his contribution to LPC, and his particular interest in furthering the Student Award. Alltech has co-sponsored the award since 2012.

“Today’s young agricultural journalists must not only be excellent communicators, but also able to successfully multitask between various social and traditional media channels. They must be ‘agvocates’ and educate a growing urban population about our industry. Finally they must be catalysts for change as they share new technologies developed and polices passed with their readers,” said Ann Hess, North America field PR manager for Alltech. “We are pleased to present this award to a fine young leader in agricultural journalism and wish Logan the best in his future aspirations.”

Be Wary of Wheat Quality after Wet Weather

According to Dr. Max Hawkins, a nutritionist with Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management Team, there have been recent reports of wheat being rejected at grain terminals for DON levels ranging from five ppm to more than 10 ppm.

[LEXINGTON, Ky.] – This summer’s excessive rain has left the wheat harvest lagging behind and the crop in suboptimal condition, according to one grain management expert.

Dr. Max Hawkins, a nutritionist with Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management Team, said that the most common mycotoxin issue with wheat is Deoxynivalenol (DON), produced by Fusarium graminareum mold. This is the same mold that produces Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), and the two are commonly associated in wheat. However, in some cases DON can still be present even if FHB is not spotted.

Fusarium graminareum prefers extended wet periods or relative humidity more than 90 percent with temperatures from 59 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The maps for June rainfall and temperature indicate these factors have been in play across a major portion of the Grain Belt.

“In the 2014 wheat crop, there are reports from across the U.S. of DON levels ranging from two parts per million (ppm) to 14 ppm. There are areas where the wheat has been relatively free of DON and bushel test weights have been excellent,” Hawkins said. “However, the areas contaminated with DON are increasing as rainfall and temperature play a more significant role. There have been recent reports of wheat being rejected at grain terminals for DON levels ranging from five ppm to more than 10 ppm.”

A standard alternative to corn in poultry and swine diets, wheat can be formulated into a diet on a lysine basis and provide similar nutritional value. Wheat can also be utilized to stretch a short corn supply or at certain times be a more economic replacement for corn. However, just as in corn, there can be a risk for mycotoxins.

“Wheat producers may have used fungicide to help prevent FHB but this requires proper timing and application rates to be more effective,” Hawkins said. “If there is variability in plant maturity across a field at application, this will result in fungicide being improperly timed for a percentage of the wheat crop. This will result in a percentage of the plants not being protected against FHB and at risk for DON formation.”

Since DON tends to be higher on light weight, damaged kernels or fines, Hawkins advises these tips for wheat growers:

  • Be proactive by increasing fan speed on combines to 1375 to 1475 rpm and increasing shutter openings to 3.5 inches.
  • When storing grain, it should be screened as it goes into storage and screened again when it is removed from storage.
  • Screening should not be used for livestock feed.
  • If the wheat grain contains DON, the straw from the crop will contain DON also so care must be used if the straw is destined for feeding or bedding.

“It is highly recommended to have the grain analyzed prior to feeding. Alltech’s 37+TM laboratory provides an in-depth analysis of 38 different mycotoxins and not only analyzes for DON but also for six different Type B Trichothecenes that can be formed by Fusarium graminareum,” Hawkins said. “The employment of a total mycotoxin management program that covers all areas from the field to the feeder will provide the greatest amount of information and the safest feed possible.”