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Mycotoxin Risk Assessment for Ruminants

Answer the questions below to find your risk from mycotoxins. Click the symbol to learn more.

Your Herd

How would you describe your feed quality?

Is there visible spoilage of the forage component of the feed? Spoilage and reduced feed intake is a risk factor for mycotoxins.

Deoxynivalenol (DON) is also known as vomitoxin, as it has been shown to reduce appetite and feed intake.


1. Diekman M.A., Green M.L.,. 1992. "Mycotoxins and reproduction in domestic livestock." Journal of Animal Science 70: 1615-1627.


How would you describe your daily milk production?

Lower than expected milk production could be caused my mycotoxin contamination.

Zearalenone (ZON) is a commonly found mycotoxin that has been shown to mimic the effects of oestrogen. ZON in the feed can contribute to fertility and reproductive issues.


1. Diekman M.A., Green M.L.,. 1992. "Mycotoxins and reproduction in domestic livestock." Journal of Animal Science 70: 1615-1627.

2. Katzenellenbogen, B. S., J. A. Katzenellenbogen, and D. Mordecai. (1979). Zearalenones: Characterization of the estrogenic potencies and receptor interactions of a series of fungal P-resorcylic acid lactones. Endocrinology 105:33.


How would you describe your fertility rates

How would you describe your 1st service conception rate or your 21-day pregnancy rate?

Zearalenone (ZON) is a commonly found mycotoxin that has been shown to mimic the effects of oestrogen. ZON in the feed can contribute to fertility and reproductive issues.


1. Diekman M.A., Green M.L.,. 1992. "Mycotoxins and reproduction in domestic livestock." Journal of Animal Science 70: 1615-1627.

2. Katzenellenbogen, B. S., J. A. Katzenellenbogen, and D. Mordecai. (1979). Zearalenones: Characterization of the estrogenic potencies and receptor interactions of a series of fungal P-resorcylic acid lactones. Endocrinology 105:33.


What is your abortion rate?

What is your rate of abortions between 42 and 270 days pregnant?

Zearalenone (ZON) is a commonly found mycotoxin that has been shown to mimic the effects of oestrogen. ZON in the feed can contribute to fertility and reproductive issues.


1. Katzenellenbogen, B. S., J. A. Katzenellenbogen, and D. Mordecai. (1979). Zearalenones: Characterization of the estrogenic potencies and receptor interactions of a series of fungal P-resorcylic acid lactones. Endocrinology 105:33.

2. Mohamed E. Zain, Impact of mycotoxins on humans and animals, Journal of Saudi Chemical Society, Volume 15, Issue 2, 2011.


What is the rate of stillborn calves?

Zearalenone (ZON) is a commonly found mycotoxin that has been shown to mimic the effects of oestrogen. ZON in the feed can contribute to fertility and reproductive issues.


1. Katzenellenbogen, B. S., J. A. Katzenellenbogen, and D. Mordecai. (1979). Zearalenones: Characterization of the estrogenic potencies and receptor interactions of a series of fungal P-resorcylic acid lactones. Endocrinology 105:33.


What is the condition of the faeces?

Blood and mucous tags in the faeces could be an indication of gut irritation.

Trichothecene mycotoxins such as DON and T2 damage the internal lining of the gut, causing bleeding and tissue damage.


1. Adhikari M., Negi B., Kaushik N., Adhikari A., Al-Khedhairy A.A., Kaushik N.K., Choi E.H., (2017), T2 mycotoxin: toxicological effects and decontamination strategies, Oncotarget, 8(20), 33933-33952.


What is the mastitis rate (cases per 100 cows per year)?

Multiple mycotoxins are responsible for damaging the immune system, which could contribute to higher mastitis rates.


1. Johanna Fink-Gremmels (2008) Mycotoxins in cattle feeds and carryover to dairy milk: A review, Food Additives and Contaminants, 25:2, 172-180, DOI: 10.1080/02652030701823142.


What is the monthly average somatic cell count?

Multiple mycotoxins are responsible for damaging the immune system, which could lead to greater infection rates and somatic cell counts.


1. Johanna Fink-Gremmels (2008) Mycotoxins in cattle feeds and carryover to dairy milk: A review, Food Additives and Contaminants, 25:2, 172-180, DOI: 10.1080/02652030701823142.


Your Feed

Do you feed maize silage in the ration?

Maize is frequently contaminated with Fusarium mycotoxins such as DON and Fumonisins.


1. Paola, Battilani, Roberta, Palumbo, Paola, Giorni, Chiara, Dall'Asta, Luca, Dellafiora, Athanasios, Gkrillas, Piero, Toscano, Alfonso, Crisci, Carlo, Brera, Barbara De, Santis, Rosanna, Cammarano, Maurella, Della Seta, Katrina, Campbell, Chris, Elliot, Armando, Venancio, Ana, Gonçalves, Chloe, Terciolo, Isabelle, Oswald, 2020. Mycotoxin mixtures in food and feed: holistic, innovative, flexible risk assessment modelling approach: MYCHIF. EFSA supporting publication 2020: 17( 1): EN‐1757. 161 pp. doi: 10.2903/sp.efsa.2020.EN‐1757.


Do you feed straw as part of the ration or use it as bedding?

Straw is a frequently overlooked source of mycotoxins.

Surveys by Mycocheck have shown straw to contain several different mycotoxins, which can have various effects in animals.


1. Furmage R., Ho H., Steele M., Parfitt D., Mycotoxin Survey of Straw Across the UK, Proceedings of the World Mycotoxin Conference, Belfast, Oct 2019.


Do you feed distillers by-products as part of the ration?

Distillers by-products are frequently contaminated with mycotoxins.

The process of producing bio-fuels concentrates the levels of mycotoxins within the by-products.


1. Díaz-Royón, Fernando. (2016). Mycotoxins are concentrated in distillers grains. Hoard’s Dairyman. 731.


Your Farm

Do you notice heating in the silage clamp?

Heating within the clamp indicates excess oxygen and microbial activity.

Excess oxygen could allow moulds to proliferate within the clamp, increasing the risk of mycotoxin contamination.


1. Bernardes TF, Daniel JLP, Adesogan AT, McAllister TA, Drouin P, Nussio LG, Huhtanen P, Tremblay GF, Bélanger G, Cai Y. J Dairy Sci. 2018 May;101(5):4001-4019. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-13703. Review.


Is there visible mould growth within the clamp or forage?

Mycotoxins are produced by moulds.

Mould growth within the feed increases the risk of mycotoxins being present.


1. Paola, Battilani, Roberta, Palumbo, Paola, Giorni, Chiara, Dall'Asta, Luca, Dellafiora, Athanasios, Gkrillas, Piero, Toscano, Alfonso, Crisci, Carlo, Brera, Barbara De, Santis, Rosanna, Cammarano, Maurella, Della Seta, Katrina, Campbell, Chris, Elliot, Armando, Venancio, Ana, Gonçalves, Chloe, Terciolo, Isabelle, Oswald, 2020. Mycotoxin mixtures in food and feed: holistic, innovative, flexible risk assessment modelling approach: MYCHIF. EFSA supporting publication 2020: 17( 1): EN‐1757. 161 pp. doi: 10.2903/sp.efsa.2020.EN‐1757.


What is the dry matter content of your silage?

Dry forage is more difficult to compact, leading to increased oxygen within the clamp.

Lower compaction and higher oxygen levels could allow mould growth, increasing the risk of mycotoxin contamination.


1. 1. Bernardes TF, Daniel JLP, Adesogan AT, McAllister TA, Drouin P, Nussio LG, Huhtanen P, Tremblay GF, Bélanger G, Cai Y. J Dairy Sci. 2018 May;101(5):4001-4019. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-13703. Review.