Be alert for mycotoxins in feed

DAIRY HERDS seeing cases of swollen hocks and teat-end oedema this winter should consider mycotoxin contamination of feed as a possible cause.

These symptoms are being seen this winter and are easily visible indications of a possible mycotoxin threat, warns Alltech ruminant technical manager David Wilde. The toxin is produced by fusarium mould.

“Fusarium mould can be present in feedstuffs and other factors, such as higher dry matter forages and last year’s wet cereals harvest, have caused increased incidence,” explains Mr Wilde.


Its effect on the animal ultimately leads to low blood pressure, which causes blood and lymph fluids to build up in the lower extremities – including the legs and mammary tissues.

But mycotoxins are difficult to identify in feeds and can be present even without visible signs of mould. Therefore, treatment with a mycotoxin-binding feed additive may prove more cost-effective than analysing feed where symptoms are being seen, advises Mr Wilde.

“In a number of cases this winter, adding Mycosorb to a ration has resulted in a reduction in hock swellings within a few days and seen milk yields rise to pre-challenge levels.”