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Fusarium Resistant Wheats Expected to Benefit Prairie Pork Producers

29 May 2013, at 7:13am

CANADA - A swine nutritionist with the Prairie Swine Centre says the introduction of new fusarium resistant varieties of wheat will be of particular benefit to western Canada's pork producers.

Certified seed for AC Emerson, a new Canada western red winter wheat and Canada's first fusarium head blight resistant wheat is expected to be available this fall and a new fusarium resistant spring wheat is also now in the pipeline.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Saskatoon based Prairie Swine Centre, says the biggest concern with fusarium is its impact on feed quality.

Dr Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre:

Fusarium is a mould that is common in wheat and barley and small grains.

The problem or the issue with fusarium is the mycotoxins they produce.

These are the chemicals produced by these moulds and these have negative effects on growth, feed intake and can even cause illness like symptoms in pigs if the levels are very very high.

Ag Canada recommends not having diets containing more than one PPM, that's one part per million or milligrams per kilogram, in diets for pigs.

We have, in research trials, gone a little bit higher than that in pigs and the first issue we see is a depression in feed intake.

The animals start to refuse to eat their diets or hold back from their diets. That of course causes problems with growth. It depends on the mycotoxin you're working with.

One we have typically been working with is DON, abbreviated D O N or deoxynivalenol is the longer name for it and that's sometimes called vomitoxin because you can even see the pigs vomiting.
That would be at a very very high level of inclusion.

Dr Beaulieu notes deoxynivalenol only needs to be present at very small levels to impact feed intake so, while there are assays available to detect these moulds they may not always be identified.

She says, if the grain is resistant to fusarium and the mold isn't there, we won't see the mycotoxins developing in the feed.

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The impact of mycotoxins — through losses in commodity quality and livestock health — exceeds $1.4 billion in the United States alone, according to the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. This guide includes:

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