High dry matter silage that is prevalent on many dairy farms this
year following an exceptionally warm and dry grass harvest presents
a greater risk of mycotoxins contamination, according to a new
technical guide launched by Alltech at Dairy Event 2006.
Difficulties of consolidating drier material in the clamp, leading
to greater air ingress and more potential mould growth, mean farmers
should be all the more aware of the hidden threat of mycotoxins
this autumn, said the company’s ruminant technical manager
David Wilde at the event.
“High dry matter silage is one of a number of risk factors
that we identify in our new guide,” he explained. “Some
of the early reports that I have seen on this year’s silage
quality are indicating a significant increase in dry matters across
the country, with average figures in the 33-35% range.
“Consolidation of material in clamps will have been more
difficult and there will inevitably be some who will find their
silage is more susceptible to mould, and this can result in mycotoxins
in the feed.
“Good face management will be all the more important to
minimise the risks, including keeping the exposed face to a minimum
and ensuring that it is cut as cleanly and tidy as possible. Farmers
must however be aware that moulds may develop within the clamp,
and not only at the face, and that an absence of visible mould
is no guarantee of freedom from mycotoxins.”
In addition to a full explanation of the origins of mycotoxins
and their many and varied effects on ruminant livestock, Alltech’s
new guide includes a section that allows farmers to conduct their
own risk assessment.
“Mycotoxins are a relatively new and complex phenomenon
for dairy farmers so we are sure that the guide will be a valuable
aid,” said David Wilde. “One of the main difficulties
is that mycotoxins are a potential problem anywhere that mould
can grow, and that includes all feeds and fresh feed sources. Some
mycotoxins originate from moulds that grow on crops in the field,
and will survive the silage fermentation process, so may be present
in the feed even if there is no visible evidence.
“We hope that by identifying many of the symptoms and making
recommendations on how to deal with a suspected presence that we
can help a lot of farmers combat the threat before it becomes costly.”
Free copies of “A Guide to Mycotoxins in Ruminants” were
available to dairy farmers on Alltech’s stand at Dairy Event
2006 in Cattle Shed 3 (stand 553), and can also be obtained by
contacting Alltech UK on 01780 764512.
Fresh Thinking On Home Grown Fodder
Guide To Cutting Feed Costs With Fodder Crops
New Utility Brassica Can Counter Grazing Shortages