WPX: Biomin discusses mycotoxins prevalence, sow efficiency

Raj Murugesan, Global Head of Gut Performance with Biomin, highlighted issues surrounding mycotoxins on farms, as well as new initiatives by Biomin to improve feed efficiency in newborn pigs.
calendar icon 6 July 2021
clock icon 3 minute read
Raj Murugesan, global head of gut performance with Biomin, discusses Mycotoxins and feed efficiency with The Pig Site's Sarah Mikesell

Looking at 2020, the levels of mycotoxins were down compared to the previous year. The three major mycotoxins in corn include fumonisin, zearalenone, and deoxynivalenol (DON) and their trend levels have fluctuated consistently over the last 10 years.

Based on 2020 levels being lower, Murugesan projects that mycotoxin prevalence levels will increase for the 2021 season, but that remains to be seen.

The presence of the three major mycotoxins in corn has not changed over time. The south US typically contains fumonisin and DON, and the northern US contains zearalenone and DON. There’s a combination of the three found in the Midwest and Northeast.

The levels of mycotoxins are largely dependent on the weather.

“This year we had a much longer spring, and a worse winter in the Midwest - a lot of snow and a lot of cold days,” said Murugesan. "In the summer, we’re already starting to see 90 degree temperatures popping up now, and we've got another three or four months to go. We have to wait and see how the planting and growing season goes, and if there’s a drought and how that is going to really affect the corn growth, the mold growth on the corn and mycotoxin production. It's a wait and see now.”

Productivity in finishers

Biomin has currently focused on improving the productivity and efficiency in finishing pigs. The company has run a campaign emphasizing more weight and less wait time, meaning improved feed efficiency, leading to an increase in the profitability per pig. They have created a phytogenic formulation to increase the growth rate and feed efficiency of pigs.

Biomin is also working on sow nurseries using a phytogenic combination that will improve reproduction and reduce the sow body weight loss during lactation. Biomin aims to increase weights in nursery pigs to help piglets that are struggling to gain weight.

“Sow longevity is the most profitable thing on a sow operation,” said Murugesan. “For a replacement sow or gilt, and even some operations, we are seeing about 15% cull rate or sow elimination, which is definitely hitting the pocket. How can we reduce that? How can we improve sow longevity and reduce some of those challenges that normally go through like gut health, and that affects again, lameness as well as some mycotoxin related issues. We are currently looking at what Biomin can do from a solution standpoint.”

Claire Mintus

Contributing writer

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October - September 2021

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