Robbed by Mycotoxins Account passwords, microchipped credit cards and anti-virus computer software are just a few precautions you have probably taken to keep your financials protected from theft. Still, many dairy producers are robbed every day. Scott Karl, herd manager of Liquid Coin Dairy in Milladore, Wisconsin, has come face-to-face with these dairy thieves and knows they do not exist in cyber space but in feed bunkers – these thieves are commonly referred to as “mycotoxins.” Mycotoxins are poisonous chemical compounds produced by molds and their metabolites. Though molds may not always be visible, there are some common signs that a herd may be suffering from mycotoxins including poor reproductive performance, cystic ovaries, abortions and loose bowels. In any dairy herd the signs can be fatal. “About four years ago we knew there was something seriously wrong when our reproduction and herd health simultaneously decreased,” recalled Karl. “Cases of ketosis were popping up and our fresh two-yearolds were too thin. Some animals were even experiencing hemorrhagic bowels which is something every dairy producer dreads.”
Understanding that the herd was under attack, Karl contacted his NorthStar Representative Wayne Westrich for help. “I told Wayne what we had been experiencing, and he sent a feed sample to be tested for mycotoxins right away,” explained Karl. “The results showed high levels of Vomitoxin [Deoxynivalenol] along with other mycotoxins. Wayne recommended we start feeding Select DTX™.”
DTX has been a large cost savings for our herd in the long-run, not to mention it's a more economical choice compared to other microbial products.” “We decided to mix the DTX into our TMR that we feed to all of our heifers, milking cows and dry cows,”
explained Karl. “We quickly saw our conception rate shoot back up, and the ketosis and hemorrhagic bowel cases were greatly reduced.” With the herd on the mend and the hot, humid summer months behind him, Karl decided to stop feeding DTX with intentions to return to the microbial in the Spring. “I thought I would save some money by only feeding DTX during the summer months when the environment is perfect for mold to grow,” stated Karl. “As soon as I took DTX out of our TMR, our conception rate started to drop – an obvious response to removing the microbial. Since then, we’ve been feeding DTX yearround and have experienced steady conception rates and healthy cows.” “DTX has been a large cost savings for our herd in the long-run – not to mention it’s a more economical choice compared to other microbial products on the market” claimed Karl. “By helping us keep our death rate and herd health issues down and conception rate up, it’s cheap insurance for us!” Liquid Coin Dairy was established in 1998 by Leroy and Leann Altmann, Joyce and Scott Karl, and Pat and Jill Altmann.
Toxin Levels on the Rise Since 2013, toxin levels have continuously increased, especially in the central Midwest states, and have now reached record levels. The most commonly found toxins are DON (Vomitoxin) and Zearalenone which both cause reproduction and production problems in cattle. Symptoms of DON typically include sporadic loose manure, appetite suppression, and other poor health symptoms, which result in loss of production or an increase in metabolic occurrences. Zearalenone
is an estrogen and causes cows to show weak or silent heats, resulting in decreased conception rates, and in severe cases, can cause abortions and pre-mature udder development in virgin heifers.
Changes in Vomitoxin Levels (PPB)
Toxin issues are nothing new, and most dairies are already feeding a binder or similar product. Select DTX is a product that can assist with the negative effects of mycotoxin exposure by switching on a naturally occurring mechanism in the intestine that prevents the mycotoxins from
being absorbed into the blood stream. Since DTX is a unique technology, not a binder, it is not limited to certain mycotoxins, but works against most of the more than 300 mycotoxins known to be of concern.
Samples from NorthStar's service area
™Select DTX is a trademark of Select Sires and manufactured by Agrarian Solutions, Middlebury, IN.