North America

Mycotoxins predicted to become more prevalent due to climate changes, will have greater impact on rumen function

More than 50 dairy producers and industry members attended the Alltech Mycotoxin Roadshow this week at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, where Dr. Johanna Fink-Gremmels presented a snapshot of the global mycotoxin problem as well as the role mycotoxins play in the health and performance of dairy cows during her presentation, “Impacts of Mycotoxins on Dairy Cows.”

[MADISON, Wis.] –Mycotoxins, often one of the most neglected considerations in ruminant diets, should be a major animal health and welfare concern in modern animal husbandry, according to one leading researcher and veterinarian.

“Under the conditions of modern agricultural practice, mycotoxin contamination of feed materials cannot entirely be avoided,” said Dr. Johanna Fink-Gremmels, Utrecht University. “It is predicted that at the current level, the prevalence of mycotoxins will increase due to changes in the climate.”

More than 50 dairy producers and industry members attended the Alltech Mycotoxin Roadshow this week at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, where Fink-Gremmels presented a snapshot of the global mycotoxin problem as well as the role mycotoxins play in the health and performance of dairy cows during her presentation, “Impacts of Mycotoxins on Dairy Cows.”

According to Fink-Gremmels, mycotoxins are currently the most prominent feed contaminants worldwide, attributing to a 25 percent decrease in genetic potential in dairy cows and an economic loss to the United States alone estimated at more than $1 billion annually. Natural toxins produced by diverse fungal species, mycotoxins are increasing in diversity through both pre- and post-harvest contamination.

Total mixed rations can often contain more than one fungal species, contributing to a complex mixture of mycotoxins and unresolved health issues in the herd. According to Fink-Gremmels, the greatest problem for dairy cows is multiple mycotoxin contamination in silage. Dairy producers need to observe cow signals such as reduced feed intake, reproductive disorders, laminitis, mastitis, impaired liver function, poor response to vaccination programs, and increased susceptibility to bacterial and viral diseases, which can all be attributed to ingesting mycotoxin contaminated feed.

“The rumen determines health and productivity of the cow. When rumen bacteria are suffering, the liver does not function properly, initiating a cascade of events, instigating a generalized inflammatory response, increase in somatic cell count, reduction in digestibility and ultimately resulting in the loss of production,” Fink-Gremmels said. “Intervention strategies can improve the rumen flora and reduce the bioavailability of mycotoxins.”

The Alltech 37+® mycotoxin analysis program will be releasing the results of their annual North America Harvest Analysis survey in December and, according to Dr. Max Hawkins, nutritionist with Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management team, the above average rainfall and late planting through the Midwest leaves concern for mold and mycotoxin issues during this year’s harvest. Crops have shown corn irregularity across the country with faster dry down but slow ear development.

“Producers need to be proactive rather than reactive,” Hawkins said. “Sample your silage and know what your risk is to implement proper management practices. If left unchecked and uncontrolled, contamination even at low levels will cause rumen issues in dairy cows, resulting in the loss of production.”

Producers should take the necessary management steps upon harvest to help troubleshoot existing issues with contaminated feedstuffs:

  • Use of a silage inoculant
  • Proper packing and covering of grains
  • Grain drying – dry to 14 percent moisture or less
  • Use of a proper mycotoxin management program

“Management strategies that prevent exposure to and ingestion of mycotoxins are always the best course of action. When producers suspect mycotoxins are present, testing of feed samples should be the first action taken,” Hawkins said. “Producers should test new grains and forages at harvest, prior to storage and be aware of the effects of multiple mycotoxins, implement a mycotoxin control program and stay vigilant with storage management.”


Alltech Roadshow at World Dairy Expo examines mycotoxin impact

Join the Alltech Mycotoxin Roadshow at World Dairy Expo. Featured speakers are Dr. Johanna Fink-Gremmels, Utrecht University, and Dr. Max Hawkins, Alltech Mycotoxin Management team nutritionist. Fink-Gremmels will take an in-depth look at the role mycotoxins play in the health and performance of dairy cows, while Hawkins will provide an overview of the Alltech Mycotoxin Management program, designed to help producers safeguard the quality of their feedstuffs and the health of their animals.

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015:  9:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m. CST

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015:  8:30 a.m. CST

Madison Room, Exhibition Hall, Madison, Wisconsin

Space is limited. Please RSVP by Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, to the Alltech Wisconsin office at (920) 386-9651 or for available time slots.

Visitors to the Alltech booth #EH 3201-3304 at World Dairy Expo will also have the opportunity to learn more about how the Alltech Mycotoxin Management program can assist in reducing mycotoxin risks on-farm while improving herd performance and profitability.

Produced by molds, mycotoxins can threaten animal performance and producer profitability in numerous ways. From the farm to the feed mill and from risk assessment to feed management, the Alltech Mycotoxin Management program consists of solutions tailored to address challenges impacting animal health and performance.

You’re hired: 2016 Alltech Young Scientist program to include fully-funded Ph.D. and post-doc positions


[LEXINGTON, Ky.] –The prize package has been sweetened for winners of the annual Alltech Young Scientist program. Beginning in 2016, the world’s largest university-level competition in agriscience will not only publicly honor the overall champions for their scientific discoveries with trophies and cash awards, but will offer fully-funded Ph.D. and post-doctorate positions to the global undergraduate and graduate winners.

“The Alltech Young Scientist program has uncovered some of the best and brightest emerging research talent in agriscience, and Alltech wants these leaders to join our team,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech.

The Alltech Young Scientist program, now in its 11th year, received more than 8,800 student registrations for the 2015 term.

Registration is currently open for the 2016 competition and will close on October 31, 2015. Students must be nominated by a professor in order to participate and may submit scientific papers on topics such as animal health and nutrition, crop science, agriculture analytical methods, food chain safety and traceability, human health and nutrition and other agriscience-related sectors. Paper submission may be completed online until Dec. 31, 2015.

Each student’s paper will first compete within their home region of North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific or Europe/Africa. The finalists from all four regions will be invited to attend an all-expense-paid Alltech Young Scientist Discovery Week in Lexington, Kentucky, where they will compete in the global competition. Each finalist will present his or her paper to a panel of international judges and a live audience during ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, May 22-25, 2016.

For more information and to register for the Alltech Young Scientist program, please visit: and stay connected through Facebook (

BioMarine Business Convention announces keynote speaker, Dr. Mark Lyons, Alltech Global Vice President & Head of Greater China


[WILMINGTON, N.C.] – BioMarine, the international investment platform dedicated to the development of marine bio-resources, has announced that Dr. Mark Lyons, global vice president and head of Greater China for Alltech, will deliver the keynote presentation at the 2015 BioMarine Business Convention, to be held in Wilmington, North Carolina from October 12-14. Dr. Lyons will speak on “What We Should Learn From China,” drawing on his time living in Beijing and covering the country’s success in promoting its marine economy.

“We are excited that Dr. Mark Lyons, with his deep experience in the world’s number one feed-producing country, will be sharing his insights on China with us at the 2015 BioMarine Business Convention,” said Pierre Erwes, chairman of BioMarine. “This is a wonderful opportunity for participants to learn firsthand about the advancements in production, technology, traceability and sustainability in China, a country whose evolution will certainly extend beyond its waters.” 

Dr. Lyons received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in political science and environmental science, followed by a master’s degree in brewing and distilling and a Ph.D. in solid-state fermentation from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He served as director of Alltech’s North American operations from 2009-2011. Since that time, Dr. Lyons has concentrated on key international accounts and industry groups, as well as core company initiatives. He moved to China in 2012 and focuses on Alltech’s “China Now” initiative, which deepens the company’s support of the marine industry through research, education and strategic initiatives.

Alltech is a Grey Pearl sponsor of the 2015 BioMarine Business Convention, and will sponsor a breakout session covering the benefits of fish oil replacement by plant-originated oils in compounded fish feeds. In addition to Dr. Lyons’ presentation, the following Alltech executives will participate: John Sweetman, European technical manager for aquaculture; Becky Timmons, director of applications research and quality assurance, and the global technical director for Alltech Algae; and Jorge Arias, global director, aqua division.

More than 300 international investors, business leaders and government officials are expected to attend the convention, a partnership with the NCBiotech Southeastern office and the Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation (MBCOI), which is being held for the first time in the United States this year. Senior executives, top experts and other dignitaries, will address the attendees throughout the two-day meeting, which features live-streamed sessions, workshops and extensive networking opportunities through one-to-one pre-scheduled business meetings and social events. International representation from 12 countries throughout the world—the United States, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Norway, Mozambique, Australia and Saudi Arabia—are confirmed to attend.

“North Carolina’s strength in biotechnology, particularly marine biotech, makes Wilmington an ideal location for this year’s event,” said North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. “It’s amazing to think that North Carolina now has more than 600 biotech companies that contribute more than 237,000 jobs to our economy. Entrepreneurs, scientists and educators across the state are developing marine biotech opportunities in numerous fields such as pharmaceuticals and seafood preservation. I warmly welcome participants in the 2015 BioMarine Business Convention to the Port City and to the state of North Carolina.”

For more information, please see the preliminary conference program here: To register for the convention, please visit

  • PSU Dairy Nutrition Conference

  • Alltech Ideas Conference

  • Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Conference

  • Commodity Classic

  • Banff Pork Seminar

  • Crop Production Show

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