Assessing the risk of contamination with mycotoxins in cattle feed is difficult, but problems with mycotoxins in cattle exist!
Assessing the risk of mycotoxins in cattle feed has always been challenging. If dairy cows are fed with a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) containing silages, grains and by-products. Each of these feed ingredients could lead to mycotoxins symptoms in cattle. Although mycotoxins in cattle feed with high-fiber ingredients can be analysed, test methods for mycotoxins in dairy are costly and not practical for routine analysis. On the other hand, more practical and affordable tests for mycotoxins in cattle feed, such as ELISA and Lateral Flow Devices, are not particularly suitable for testing high-fiber ingredients for mycotoxins in dairy. This problem can be solved by using rapid mycotoxin cattle tests that are practical for testing mycotoxins in ingredients with low amounts of fiber and using a combination of mould counts and mycotoxin analysis for ingredients with high levels of fiber and for TMR.
Making a correct assessment of the risk of contamination with mycotoxins in cattle feed in combination with understanding consequences of the presence of mycotoxins in cattle feed and negative effective effects of mycotoxins in dairy cows is very important to prevent mycotoxin symptoms in cattle that can lead to problems with health, performance and fertility of dairy cows. Next to these problems with mycotoxins in cattle, there can also be problems with residues of aflatoxins in milk as a result of contamination with aflatoxin mycotoxins in cattle feed.