December 9, 2008


Mycotoxins in straw harmful to pig health


Mycotoxins in straw could pose a particular threat to the health of pig herds this year, according to James Hall of pig-breeding company ACMC.


Hall warns that because of the late wet harvest, straw has been both in short supply and of poor quality. While many producers are aware of mycotoxins in cereals, the danger from mouldy straw can be easily overlooked, he said.


The first symptoms could be an increase in the number of returns to service, extended weaning-to-service intervals and late-to-mid-term abortions. Hall advises any producers seeing such symptoms to seek advice from their vets and nutritionists immediately.


The effects upon the breeding herd are likely to be the most serious and the disruption caused to breeding routines can be costly, Hall added.


Hall hopes that those who buy straw should ensure its quality. The most sensible approach, he says, is use barley straw since it is the best material for breeding herd and young pigs.


Producers who mill and mix their own feed are advised to use a mycotoxin binding agent, where several products are priced from GBP5 to GBP10 per tonne.


Those who buy in compounds should check with their feed supplier if such additives are available. Compound feed does not necessarily contain these products. But it is important to note that feed additive binders won't protect against mycotoxins which are later ingested when pigs eat infected straw.


US$1 = GBP0.674 (Dec 9)

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