Three Mycotoxins That Can Make Pigs Sick

It pays to know which of the 200 varieties of corn molds are in your feed.

Published on: Aug 29, 2012

Bob Thaler, South Dakota State University Extension swine specialist, says of the 200 varieties of corn mold, three can make pigs sick of even kill them.

Aflatoxin. At very high levels, aflatoxin can kill hogs. If a test shows that feed is positive for mycotoxin; producers should add binders to the feed. Aflatoxin is rare in South Dakota, showing up only about once every 10 years.

Vomitoxin (DON). If animals eat more than 1 ppm they will begin vomiting and will go off feed, which then reduces gain and sow performance. If feed is positive for DON, blend it with clean grain so that total diet level is below 1 ppm. There are commercial binders available, but researchers have not found one that will "consistently and completely alleviate the symptoms," Thaler says.

Healthy pigs need clean feed to grow and thrive. Photo: USDA ARS
Healthy pigs need clean feed to grow and thrive. Photo: USDA ARS

Zearalenone. This mycotoxin's estrogen-like effects will disrupt a sow's reproductive cycle and cause abortions if it reaches levels above 1 ppm.

Because mycotoxins affect hogs differently, it's important which one you are dealing with. You can blend infected corn with clean corn and feed it without problems. But you need to have clean corn available. Stay saving clean grain now, especially for sows and nursery pigs, Thaler advises.

Source: SDSU