Alltech wheat nutritionist advises wheat-crop mold vigilance

Summer rainfall levels throughout Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois have presented a consistent pattern, with areas of high mycotoxin (mold) contamination in wheat, testing from 1,200 to 2,000 parts per billion (ppb), Alltech said.

Over the last several months, preliminary testing of the 2015 North America wheat crop, conducted by Alltech’s 37+ mycotoxin analysis, shows an average of 3.2 mycotoxins per sample, with deoxynivalenol (DON) the most predominant toxin.

“We have had above-average rainfall. This caused late planting, with some acres not planted at all. This made it difficult to get in to spray or do post-planting field work,” Alltech Mycotoxin Management Team Nutritionist Max Hawkins said. “Wet soil has also created a nitrogen-loss situation.” 

The result is contamination, Hawkins told Crop Protection News. "This year, the wheat probability of being able to feed to certain livestock varies," Hawkins said.

Farmers should scout fields for any stalk- or leaf-mold issues, as well as for any damage to plants from insects or weather conditions, Hawkins said. Excess rain can create ponds that may drown out or stunt crop growth and generate differences in soil types, Hawkins said.

Additionally, producers should take the necessary steps to solve existing issues with contaminated foodstuffs that include the use of a silage inoculant, proper packing and covering of grains, grain drying to 14 percent moisture and using a proper mycotoxin-management program, Hawkins said.

"If you are going to store wheat, you really need to monitor it closely,” Hawkins said. “It should be at less than 14 percent moisture; when it is higher, mold starts to flourish and can limit the wheat."

Hawkins also said damaged or cracked wheat also may have a negative effect.

“It is important to clean it,” Hawkins said. “Cleaning it greatly reduces toxins."

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