Dec. 29, 2015 11:21 AM

Recent reports indicate that various mycotoxins are plentiful in this year’s corn crop and other feedstuffs, causing dairy producers and nutritionists to shudder.

The reaction is understandable, since effects from these undesirable fungal metabolites range from significantly reducing animal performance, milk loss, to potentially life-threatening. Plus, detection, diagnosis and management can be tricky as there can be localized hot-spots in a bunker, symptoms are often chronic, rather than acute—and health and productivity challenges often mimic other diseases.

Furthermore, mycotoxins may develop in almost any feedstuff during the growing season, at harvest or during storage. Their growth is also influenced by environmental conditions. Cool, wet weather favors fusarium toxins, while hot, humid weather encourages aflatoxin formation.

As a result, several species of mycotoxins have again been found in 2015 crops, including:
  • Aflatoxin
  • Fumonisin
  • Trichothecene (DON, also known as Vomitoxin, and T2)
  • Zearalenone
“Grains are not the only source of mycotoxins in the ration,” says Dr. Sangita Jalukar, Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition product development and research coordinator. Feed ingredients like by-product feeds, protein concentrates, finished feeds, oilseeds, wet brewers grains, food wastes and forages may also contain mycotoxins. Visible mold may or may not be present for mycotoxins to be found.

In addition, corn silage and haylage are more likely to be contaminated than hay. Also, remember that heat-processing and ensiling do not destroy mycotoxins.

“Given the widespread movement of feedstuffs, just because a specific mycotoxin was not found at high levels in your area doesn’t mean it may not be present in your ration,” says Dr. Jeff Weyers, Arm & Hammer technical services manager. “The key to controlling mycotoxicosis (a disease caused by mycotoxins) is to be proactive and use a mycotoxin binder at all times, identify the toxin when present, understand the level of challenge facing the animals and adapt to minimize the impact of mycotoxin exposure.

To do so, follow these steps:

1. Test feedstuffs. The first step is always to test feedstuffs to determine which mycotoxins—if any—are present and the level at which they occur. For dairy producers, begin by sampling the TMR and then individual feed ingredients as needed to determine the culprit.
2. Dilute levels. If higher-than-desirable levels of mycotoxins are found in a feed ingredient, immediately reduce inclusion rates to dilute mycotoxins. If the mycotoxin level is severe, consider eliminating the feedstuff from the ration altogether.
3. Feed a binder. Ration binders have two main functions: they must bind the toxin and hold on to it throughout the GI tract so that it is excreted before causing health and performance problems. CELMANAX™ with Refined Functional Carbohydrates™ has been proven to accomplish both goals, rendering the dangerous metabolites inert while increasing animal productivity.

CELMANAX is a low-inclusion feed additive that contains beta-glucans, explains Dr. Weyers. “It has been tested at low pH and high pH environments encountered in the digestive tract and was found to be highly effective at binding various mycotoxins at both pH levels.”

In animal studies CELMANAX has been efficacious at blocking transfer of dietary aflatoxin B1 to milk in cows1. Plus, the inclusion of CELMANAX in the ration for beef calves with mycotoxicosis resulted in a recovery rate of 69%.2

In addition, CELMANAX’s full dose of yeast culture with the extra power of MOS, mannose and beta-glucans help prepare the immune system for challenge and improve rumen fermentation and digestion for greater feed efficiency. Plus it helps improve udder health and maximize productivity for a smoother, more productive life cycle journey.

Fighting a toxin is dose dependent, Weyers adds. Greater levels of toxins present require a greater level of CELMANAX.

Work with your veterinarian and nutritionist to develop a strategy for finding and managing mycotoxins to reduce harmful effects in your herd. Know whether mycotoxins are holding your animals back and which of these damaging secondary metabolites are present in your feedstuffs. Then develop an action plan that includes CELMANAX to reverse negative impacts and improve animal health and productivity.

“Mycotoxins are common, but negative effects from them don’t have to be,” concludes Dr. Weyers. “Producers have several good options to maximize animal performance and prevent mycotoxins from stealing animal health and production.”

To learn more about harnessing the power of RFCs™ in CELMANAX,

About Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition
Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition, with headquarters in Princeton, N.J., is a global leader in offering a complete family of innovative, research-proven livestock and poultry feed ingredients to improve producer profitability. To learn more about Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition,