The old saying, “We are scraping at the bottom of the barrel,” seems about right when it comes to the current feed being used. With the 2014 harvest just on the horizon, many swine and poultry producers are finding the last of the 2013 grains being used in feed is of substantially lower quality. Even when stored in the best conditions, grains never improve quality during the storage period. Grain quality is either maintained or lost, taking with it the farm’s net returns. Corn, a key ingredient in swine and poultry diets, can represent close to 60 percent of the total feed.
“The quality of the grains stored depends on many different aspects and it starts in the field by choosing the hybrid to be planted, density of plants, tillage management and weather conditions,” said Guilherme Bromfman, Alltech’s North American mycotoxin management manager. “Post-harvest there are also key factors such as air management, insect control, moisture of grains, rodents, molds and weather conditions during storage.”
According to Bromfman, it is imperative that grains are stored under 13 percent moisture, however even if dried to that level, there is a risk for moisture absorption as the hygroscopic equilibrium of the corn fluctuates based on temperature and relative humidity. The movement of the moisture inside the silos generates “hot spots,” small areas with higher moisture and an increased incidence of molds, that through respiratory process elevates the temperature.
“When a higher mold incidence occurs there are two key challenges, first is the reduction of nutritional values and the other is a higher frequency of mycotoxins,” Bromfman said.
For both poultry and swine, a recent analysis of trials showed that mycotoxins reduced weight, increased feed conversion and had a reduction in net returns per animal.
“As we get closer to this time of the year where the last corn in the silos is used in the diets, it is crucial to have a complete mycotoxin management program in place,” Bromfman said. “Alltech’s broad detection mycotoxin laboratory analyzes feed contamination and manages potential risks in the feed mill and in production houses to minimize the impact low quality grain can have on livestock and poultry performance and profitability.
Put your feed to the test and see what your risk is with Alltech’s 37+TM mycotoxin analysis. 37+ assists detecting and addressing the risks caused by over 37 mycotoxins, giving you the ability to manage your mycotoxin challenge and reduce the effects it has on your animals’ performance and profitability. For more information on mycotoxins or 37+ visit knowmycotoxins.com or alltech.com/on-farm-support.