Drought conditions contributed to high levels of mycotoxins in grains

Drought conditions contributed to high levels of mycotoxins in grains

Widespread drought throughout Europe during the 2022 growing season has directly impacted the presence of moulds and mycotoxins in new crop grains and forages.

Mycotoxins are produced by certain species of moulds and are a concern for livestock producers as they can influence feed quality and subsequent animal health and performance.

Alltech collaborated with SGS, a global leader in mycotoxin testing and certification, to undertake its 2022 European Harvest Analysis.

The results of the 2022 analysis are based on over 1,000 samples of the most common grains and forage produced and used in the European livestock industry, with samples collected from farms or animal feed production sites in 20 different countries.

‘’Generally, the current results look very similar to the analysis we performed in 2021, with the aflatoxin issue in central and southeastern Europe creating the greatest challenge for feed and livestock producers to manage,” Radka Borutova, European technical support manager with the Alltech Mycotoxin Management team, said.

“Although this analysis gives a robust assessment of the mycotoxin risk in Europe this year, until you actually test the ingredients that you are using in your business, it can be difficult to implement an effective control plan.’’

Key findings

Key results from the Alltech 2022 European Harvest Analysis include that 100% of samples contained mycotoxins, with 79% containing two or more. On average, each sample contained 4.5 mycotoxins.

Aflatoxins, type B trichothecenes, fumonisins, and emerging mycotoxins are the most dominant groups detected. 67 corn samples exceeded aflatoxin regulatory limits for feed usage.

For the second year running, aflatoxin contamination of corn in central and southeastern Europe is a dominant issue for feed and livestock producers to consider.

Mycotoxin levels in wheat and barley are less than those contained in corn. While the average number of mycotoxins detected in many corn samples is above five, in small grains, it is typically closer to three.

Deoxynivalenol (DON) is the leading mycotoxin of concern and is likely resulting from a combination of pre- and post-harvest contamination, Alltech said. The problem can be exacerbated when straw is left in the field for a prolonged period, exposed to rain and dampness.

In all regions of Europe, grass and corn silage samples contained levels of mycotoxins that would be deemed higher risk for use in dairy production. The presence of elevated levels of Penicillium toxins is seen as the main contributor to this risk.

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Karen Walsh

Karen Walsh

Law of the Land

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