Publications

Mycotoxin contamination: assessment of risk in livestock system

Project number
217-0002 (71282)
Lead partner
Susan MacDonald, Fera
Scientific partners
Harper Adams University and Queen's University of Belfast
Industry partners
AHDB Beef & Lamb, AHDB Pork and RAFT Solutions Ltd
Start Date
01/07/14
End date
31/01/15
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds funding
£10,000 (total £42,845)

The challenge

Mycotoxins at high concentrations can have a direct impact on animal health and welfare. Such conditions are rarely seen in the UK. However, at lower concentrations mycotoxins can impact on livestock performance such as decreased litter weights and reduced feed conversion rates, all of which have a direct effect on farm profitability.

Currently, the main information source for livestock farmers is companies with a vested interest in the sale of mycotoxin binders/ absorbents/ biotransformation microbes/enzymes. More information is required to be able to provide independent advice for farmers on the prevalence of mycotoxins, risk factors and mitigation strategies.

The project

The aim is to carry out a three-stage, desk-based review. This will be carried out by researchers with experience of mycotoxins, cereal crops/agronomy and livestock (veterinary and husbandry). It will cover methods for testing mycotoxins in feed, forage, bedding and animals; potential effects on different species with a view to formulating prevention and mitigation strategies in order to reduce mycotoxin exposure effects.

Information will be collected from many sources including published scientific literature and grey literature/trade journals. Direct information of mycotoxin issues and other anecdotal evidence will be collected from farmers and industrial sources by survey to ensure all possible information sources are captured.

The benefits

The main information sources for livestock farmers are companies who may have a vested interest in the sale of mycotoxin binders, absorbents and bio-transformation microbes/enzymes. The review will provide an objective summary of the UK situation with respect to mycotoxins in livestock and highlight research gaps. There will be a series of 1-page key recommendation fact sheets for farmers per livestock species - beef cattle, dairy cattle and pigs. Such information would provide independent advice for farmers on the prevalence of mycotoxins, risk factors and mitigation strategies.

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