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Mycotoxins – understand the risk

Afbeelding: cows eating2

Mycotoxins are found everywhere. They are produced by moulds, either as a result of some stress factor on the mould itself (too cold, wet etc), or as a means to increase the competitiveness of the mould in the environment (e.g. to help invade the host plant). The effects they can have on ruminants are very varied and often mistaken for other common problems.

As higher dry matter wholecrop and maize silages will soon be fed, the threat of mycotoxins will increase. Moulds can grow and produce toxins until all air is expelled from the clamp, which can be an issue with very high dry matter silages where it may be impossible to expel all the air.

Moulds may or may not be present on feeds, so the issue of identification can be troublesome. The Fusarium mould, for example, does not survive at low pH, so any Fusarium in cereals for silage will not be present once ensiling has occurred. But their mycotoxins will be.

The challenges

• Mild, moist weather leads to high mould growth
• Late harvesting produces higher crop stress
• Greatest risk from aged crops like maize, cereals

The effect of mycotoxins in ruminants:


Impact within the animal Present in
Aflatoxin Liver, carcinogen, reproductive,
Ochratoxin Liver, digestive, carcinogen,
immune, kidney
Wide range of feeds
Fumonsin Nervous, pulmonary Wide range of feeds
(DON, T2)
Reproductive, digestive Grain, forage based
feeds, maize
Zearalenone Reproductive, endocrine
(mimics P4)
Grain, whole crop cereals

What can be done?

The most important thing is to be aware of the potential presence of mycotoxins in ensiled and stored feeds on farm, even though there may
be no visible evidence present.

Indications of a mycotoxin challenge include;

• Under-performing animals
• Loose manure, sometimes blood and mucuous tags in fresh manure
• Poor cycling, especially heifers
• Rough coats, listless activity
• Swollen hocks, leg lesions

These symptoms may have occurred without obvious causes and may have happened quite suddenly. If a mycotoxin challenge is suspected, rule out other common problems (e.g. cows sorting the ration, starch over-load) before including Micro Balance Detox in the daily diet.

MB Detox

​​​​​​​MB Detox mode of action:

Clay mineral particles: Bind the ‘polar’ mycotoxins such as aflatoxins
Yeast cell wall components: Bind to toxins and pathogenic bacteria
Yeast cell extracts: Modifies toxin structures to render them non- toxic 
Anti-oxidants: Boost the cows immune response

ForFarmers have cost effective solutions to the Mycotoxin threat and are able to offer next day deliveries to most areas.  For further information call: 

Northern enquiries 01359 272951

Southern enquiries 01980 801777