Mycotoxins are poisonous chemical compounds produced by certain fungi and they can have detrimental effects on animal production and health, if contaminated feeds are consumed. Mycotoxins
can be associated with endophytes in pastures, mould in hay, silage, grain or any other crops. This is particularly common in warm, humid conditions when the fungi are stressed, causing them to secrete toxins. For endophytes in pastures, the risk is usually from early spring through to autumn. For pastures, endophytes are concentrated at the crown and in the seed heads of pastures, so grazing too hard or grazing very mature grass will increase the risk of mycotoxins. Poorly made silage and hay are prone to being mouldy and can increase the risk of mycotoxins. Poor storage conditions of feed and grains can also lead to fungi growth, which can increase the risk.

Mycotoxicosis will reduce milk production and fertility, increase somatic cell count (SCC), increase disease susceptibility, result in staggers, haemorrhaging, liver disease or damage and reduced longevity.

Steps to minimizing risk:

• Properly made silage and hay are at low risk of mould and therefore mycotoxins. Consider the use of inoculum to minimise risk.

• If possible avoid grazing pastures too hard or grazing very mature pastures.

• Consider the use of mycotoxin binders to be included with your pellets when it is not possible to avoid infested pastures or contaminated feeds.

For more information, contact your CopRice representative.