Sound Advice for Canadian Swine Producers

CANADA - Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives is advising swine producers to be aware of the risks associated with feeding grains that may have been contaminated by fusarium head blight, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 18 August 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Fusarium head blight is a fungal infection that mainly affects cereals and there have wide spread reports of infection in Manitoba's red spring wheat crops this year.

Business development specialist swine Robyn Harte notes the species common in Manitoba produces several mycotoxins that are of concern to swine producers including Zearalenone, which primarily affects reproductive performance.

Robyn Harte-Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives

In the case of gilts you're looking at quite low levels of three to five parts per million sometimes, causing things like the onset of an early estrus without any actual estrus.

In sows it can be as low as five to ten parts per million and you'll see reduced litter sizes, you'll see pseudo-pregnancies, so they won't actually be pregnant.

Abortions, you'll see a reduction the number of piglets but you'll also see a reduction in the weight of each piglet so therefore your whole litter rates are going to be lower.

Weak pigs are often born and you see a definite increase in the weaned to mating interval.

When the levels get over 30 to 60 parts per million you'll actually see far more in the way of abortions.

Boars are also negatively affected and that again is in that 30 to 60 parts per million range.

And you'll see a reduction the quality of the sperm, you'll see more abnormal sperm, you'll also see that they're not as aggressive or as eager to breed.

They just sort of lose their libido so there's a number of negative reproductive issues.

Harte recommends feed testing and avoiding contaminated grain or, in cases where toxins might be present, to mix the infected grain with clean grain to lower the toxin levels.

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