In a year when overly wet conditions and a head scab outbreak are significantly impacting Ohio’s wheat crop, there is no room for assumptions that grain is toxin-free and safe to feed to livestock.
To avoid any health problems in cattle, swine, poultry and other animals, growers are highly encouraged to test the grain for vomitoxin levels before any of the feed or grain byproduct is destined for consumption.
“Farmers shouldn’t think that it’s OK to handle or feed scabby grain without actually testing and knowing how much toxin is in it,” said Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension small grains specialist and plant pathologist. “I always emphasize testing.”
Wheat in some portions of Ohio is experiencing upwards of 60 percent incidence of head scab — a disease that attacks the wheat during flowering under wet, humid conditions. The disease can impact yields. The fungal pathogen that causes head scab also produces mycotoxins (most notably vomitoxin) in the grain that can be unsafe for livestock if consumed in high levels.