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Producers: Monitor for DON-Contaminated Grains

by 5m Editor
21 October 2010, at 8:43am

CANADA - An animal science professor with the University of Manitoba is advising swine producers to monitor feed quality and watch the performance of their herds to avoid the problems associated with fusarium head blight-infected feed grains, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Preliminary data has shown the abnormally wet and warm 2010 growing conditions have resulted in higher than normal levels of fusarium head blight infection in cereal grains, particularly winter wheat.

Dr Martin Nyachoti, an animal science professor with the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, says if producers suspect grain has been infected by fusarium, the first recommendation is to have samples tested.

Dr Martin Nyachoti-University of Manitoba

Fusarium head blight which is the fungus that infects the grains produces a mycotoxin that we generally call DON for short, or vomitoxin, as it's generally referred to.

The major concern is that DON leads to feed refusal in most cases and may sometimes lead to vomiting of swine consuming DON-contaminated grains, which explains why sometimes the toxin itself is called vomitoxin.

That will then lead to poor performance of the pigs and generally reduce herd performance.

That has trickle-down effects and will affect the economic performance of the farm.


Dr Nyachoti says some reviews have indicated that for every one part per million increase in DON, you'll see about a seven and a half percent reduction in feed intake but the impact of DON-contaminated feed on pig performance will vary from farm to farm depending on a range of factors so producers should monitor the performance of their own herds.

He says in general terms swine do not deal well with fusarium and we should not exceed one PPM.