Farmscape for March 25, 2021
Research being conducted by the University of Saskatchewan will help swine producers protect their pigs from the toxic effects of ergot contaminated feeds.
In feeding trials conducted with piglets by the University of Saskatchewan, extreme processing of ergot contaminated feed using steam explosion reduced the amount of the ergot alkaloid and caused a shift in the alkaloid profile reducing its toxic effects.
Dr. Denise Beaulieu, an Assistant Professor Monogastric Nutrition in the University of Saskatchewan's College of Agriculture and Bioresources, says very low levels of ergot in the feed can impact productivity.
Clip-Dr. Denise Beaulieu-University of Saskatchewan:
Unlike other mycotoxins which primary affect non-ruminants or pigs and chickens and things, ergot affects all classes of livestock, including ruminants like cows.
CFIA has listed a concern about ergot in our feed as low one part per million, so at really small levels.
At those concentrations, we may or may not see affects at any stage.
We would think that livestock producers, in years where we know there is contamination, we wouldn't encourage producers to feed contaminated grains, but in years there is severe contamination, we might want to take steps to prevent the effects of ergot and or other mycotoxins in case some of the grain they are feeding has these contaminants in it.
Some years a low level of contamination is in a lot of our freed grains.
It varies from year to year, depending on the environment during the growing season.
Dr. Beaulieu says, while stream explosion was effective in reducing the toxicity of the ergot, less extreme methods had no effect.
She says researchers are now looking for other processing methods that will be effective and practical.
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