How to solve mycotoxin related problems in dairy
In order to evaluate the impact of mycotoxins on performance and health of the animals, feeding trials under realistic conditions have to be carried out. Field studies reflect the real situation and provide reliable results related to the practice. These studies use natural contaminated feed which usually contains a mixture of mycotoxins (synergistic effects). In contrast, research studies perform trials with ''pure'' mycotoxins. Moreover, the trial period is often longer than in scientific trials, which is very important since most of the symptoms occur after weeks of exposure to the contaminated diets.
The following trial was carried after the acknowledgment of decreased productivity and poor health status in a dairy farm located in Cotes d'Armor, France. The problems registered in the herd included lowered feed intake, high incidence of diarrhea in calves, poor body condition scoring, poor fertility and high abortion rate, high mastitis incidence, high somatic cell count (SCC) in the bulk milk and reduced milk production. The feed was analyzed for mycotoxins by a certified laboratory so a correct diagnosis and treatment of the problem could be made.
A mycotoxin deactivator - MycofixÂ® Plus - was added to the feed after the analysis recognized mycotoxin's contamination in the ration. Performance and health parameters were followed after the inclusion of the product so its effects could be measured.
This trial has been performed in a dairy herd with 50 Holstein cows with an average production of 9000Kg milk/animal/year. The cows were being fed a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) with 50 percent of maize.
According to the results of the mycotoxin analysis of the feed a treatment with 25g/cow/day of MycofixÂ® Plus was started on the 1st of May 2006, for the overall herd.
Mastitis incidence before the trial affected 20 animals in some months prior to the use of the mycotoxin deactivator. With the beginning of the treatment in May 2006 the incidence of mastitis was immediately reduced.
The SCC prior to the treatment was very high, reflecting a high incidence of mastitis problems in the cows. With the inclusion of MycofixÂ® Plus in the feed a reduction of this parameter was observed. The peak that can be found in January 2007 was due to a problem in by-pass nitrogen in the feed.
The average number of AI was lowered from 3.4 to 1.9 by using the mycotoxin deactivator. The low conception rates before the treatment can be deduced by the high percentage of 3rd artificial inseminations. The percentage of successful first inseminations improved from 9 percent previous to the treatment to 43 percent in Autumn-Winter 2006, which clearly shows the improvement of the fertility rate. Parallel to this progress also the number of cysts was decreased and the heats were described as more regular.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Biomin GmbH.