Mould and mycotoxins risks in feeds

Drought and low growth seasons tend to see a range of less common feed ingredients being used. These include older hay, alternative co-product feeds, and a high volume of failed cereal and canola crops. It is important to understand potential risks and the upsides of using these types of feed.

Oxygen is the enemy in silage production

Poorly stored hay, silage and/or other high moisture feeds are at risk of spoilage by microbes (e.g. yeasts, bacteria and moulds). Silage made from mature crops has a high risk of spoilage as it is hard to keep oxygen out.

Alternative crop hays are often at risk of becoming mouldy in storage because of their high moisture content and higher microbial load than normal hay sources.

White moulds can be dangerous. Consider testing your forage to reduce the impact of toxins on your livestock. If feed is at risk of fungal impact, mycotoxins management tools could be used to alleviate the symptoms.

  • Intake of sugarcane silage by lactating cows is less than other forages
  • Low feed intake, which can occur with simple fungal impact, or with toxin load
  • Rough hair on the coat
  • Slightly arched back
  • Swollen hocks and laminitis
  • Digestive upsets such as diarrhoea and/or rumen stasis
  • Mucous in manure
  • High somatic cell count
  • Excess salivation
  • High rate of abortion or foetal resorption
  • Broader infertility issues.

Download the 'Mould and mycotoxin risks in feed' fact sheet.

Key messages

  • Oxygen is the enemy in silage production
  • White moulds are not dangerous – FALSE!
  • Quality check your silage – Test your forage