There are potentially high levels of mycotoxins present in the 2006 corn crop, especially in south-western Ontario. Poultry producers need to be cautious when purchasing and feeding this year’s corn and corn byproducts.Generally accepted levels of vomitoxins for poultry are 5 ppm.High levels of DON in feed can cause mouth lesions, decrease in dietary protein utilization, immuno suppression and reduced flock performance.
Producers buying complete feed rations should speak to their feed company if they have concerns.
Producers making their own feed should test the feed ingredients to determine the levels of mycotoxins present.
There are four options for poultry producers to manage high levels of mycotoxins in their corn:
- Dilute infected corn down to safe feeding levels by selecting companion ingredients that have no or very low levels of toxins – such as clean corn, barley, oats or wheat or alternative feeds such as bakery waste, brewers grains, etc. Be cautious with corn byproducts as the levels of vomitoxin may be concentrated at higher levels than the original grain.
- Consult with your feed company or nutritionist about feed additives. There are no products presently available to get rid of mycotoxins but there are some feed additives that can help by binding some of the mycotoxins.
- Increase the nutrient density of your rations. By fortifying diets with higher levels of protein, energy and minerals some of the poorer animal performance may be offset.
- Clean feed before storage and, if possible, before feeding to screen out fines. Workers should take appropriate precautions to avoid skin exposure or breathing in dust containing mould and mycotoxins.