Origins of mycotoxins in feed and forage silage

The group are aiming to measure fresh grass and co-ensiled products, before silage making and at feeding out, during the year to check nutritional factors and mycotoxins.

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Field Lab Timeline

    9/3/2017 11:00:00 PM
  • Initial idea formation

    Initial idea formation
  • 12/4/2017 12:00:00 AM
  • Methods discussion

    Methods discussion
  • 1/8/2018 12:00:00 AM
  • Methods finalised

    Methods finalised
  • 1/22/2018 12:00:00 AM
  • Funding proposal submitted

    Funding proposal submitted
  • 3/12/2018 12:00:00 AM
  • Trial start

    Trial start
  • 5/6/2018 11:00:00 PM
  • First sample taken

    First sample taken
  • 5/20/2018 11:00:00 PM
  • Silage cut

    Silage cut
  • 9/2/2018 11:00:00 PM
  • Initial results analysis

    Initial results analysis
For further information hover over the above milestone marks
  • Discussion

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  • Achievements

    December 2017

    Initial methods and proposed outcomes

    Proposed methods
    Random samples of forages and co-ensiled feeds will be taken and analysed for mycotoxin levels pre-ensiling. During feed-out randomised samples of co-ensiled feeds will be taken from the shear bucket immediately after the feed is removed from the silo.
    • Four farms are test sites this year with grass silage as the forage component. Two more farms will be added next year with maize silage as the forage component of the co-ensiled mixture.
    • Samples will be collected from January (feed out) and from May and September (before ensiling).

    Nutritional factors (e.g. digestibility, metabolisable energy, protein and fibre levels) and mycotoxins will be assessed in the laboratory in the above samples.

    Economic benefits
    Savings are on bought in concentrates vs buying straight feeds, as well as handling costs on farm via mixer wagon or feeder box.

    Possible outcomes
    The silage clamp, where the maize and grass is ensiled, is a stable pH and the air can’t get at it so there is not an expectation that mycotoxin levels will rise while ensiled, it is only when it is exposed to air that the levels will rise again. Therefore the working hypothesis is that mycotoxins have to be there prior to ensiling, in the original crop. Current Research been based on analysing feed in the trough, however more research needs to be done Upstream, to find out where mycotoxins originate from and therefore identifying points at which they occur and where possible eliminating them

    Milestone: Methods discussion

    December 2017

    Field Lab aims

    The group are aiming to measure fresh grass and co-ensiled products, before silage making and at feeding out, during the year to check nutritional factors and mycotoxins. The group are interested in finding out if the co-ensiling of cereal or by-product feeds together with forage changes mycotoxins, or whether mycotoxins are already present on the plants prior to ensiling.

    Motivations and benefits to farmers
    Mycotoxins can damage the cattle: causing infertility and internal bleeding. Small levels don’t cause much harm but higher levels can be very harmful to the animals themselves. The last thing we want is to have feed that causes damage to the cows.

    Farmers want to remove the threat of mycotoxins. Co-ensiling feeds and forages together as a mixture allows farmers to attain optimal yields from their animals, as well as saving feed costs. The cows can only eat limited quantities of concentrates in the parlour so this project is about obtaining higher nutrient density silage. It’s really about pulling everything together, saving as much money on the feed and feeding outlay – by trying to handle the feed as little as possible. Basically we’re looking for a system which allows us to achieve the optimum economic yield.

    Milestone: Initial idea formation

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