Alltech 2022 analysis assesses mycotoxin risk in Europe

Drought conditions contributed to high levels of mycotoxins in grains leading to 100% of the collected samples containing mycotoxins.

EU HA photo PR
December 12, 2022

Mycotoxins are a concern for animal producers as they can influence feed quality and subsequent animal health and performance. Widespread drought throughout Europe during the 2022 growing season has directly impacted the presence of these substances in new crop grains and forages.

Aimed to uncover the true threat mycotoxins pose to animals and producers and to determine the most accurate representation of mycotoxin risk across Europe through the Alltech 2022 European Harvest Analysis, Alltech has collaborated with SGS, a global leader in mycotoxin testing and certification. Data for this program has been collected for key feed ingredients on a regional level, and analysis indicates moderate to high levels of mycotoxin risk.

The results of the 2022 analysis are based on over 1,000 samples of the most common grains and forage produced and used in the European livestock industry. Samples have been collected from farms or animal feed production sites in 20 different countries, offering a representative picture of the contamination risk in all regions, with an overall moderate to high risk.

The Alltech 2022 European Harvest Analysis showed that 100% of the collected samples contained mycotoxins, with 79% containing two or more types of them as well as 67 corn samples exceeded aflatoxin regulatory limits for feed usage (>20 ppb). On average, each sample contained 4.5 mycotoxins, being aflatoxins, type B trichothecenes, fumonisins, and emerging mycotoxins the most dominant groups detected.

“Generally, the current results look very similar to the analysis we performed in 2021, with the aflatoxin issue in Central and Southeastern Europe dominating the headlines and creating the greatest challenge for feed and livestock producers to manage,” said Radka Borutova, European technical support manager with the Alltech Mycotoxin Management team. “Although this analysis gives a robust assessment of the mycotoxin risk in Europe this year, until you actually test the ingredients that you are using in your business, it can be difficult to implement an effective control plan.”

Highlights from the Alltech 2022 European Harvest Analysis include:

The aflatoxin challenge in corn

For the second year in a row, aflatoxin contamination of corn in Central and Southeastern Europe is a dominant issue for feed and livestock producers to consider as they begin to purchase and use ingredients during the coming feeding season. Aflatoxin is a warm-weather toxin, and the widespread extreme heat conditions during the main growing season are likely to have contributed to the levels appearing in corn samples.

Wheat and barley

Mycotoxin levels in wheat and barley are less than those contained in corn. While the average number of mycotoxins detected in many corn samples is above five, in small grains, it is typically closer to three This variance is reflected in the risk equivalent quantity (REQ) and the risk of feeding these ingredients to specific species and animal groups.