Mycotoxins produced by moulds reduce productivity, impair immunity and cause numerous health issues in animals eating contaminated silage.
Moulds and mycotoxins are likely to be found in silage crops pre-harvest following wet weather, frost, hail, physical damage to plants (e.g. by wildlife, crop disease) and prolonged field wilting of cut crops.
In the past it was thought that mycotoxins were mainly produced in the field, but recently they have been found to proliferate during storage in the silo. Oxygen ingress into the peripheral areas of the silo through standard polyethylene film, or through holes in film, can produce mouldy silage contaminated with mycotoxins. Oxygen trapped in the silo due to low packing density can also cause mould growth. Mould alone can cause mycosis (disease) but recent research has also shown that contaminated peripheral areas of the silo can be high in mycotoxins.
Farmers have an option for hygienic silage when they engage Silostop® silage sealing technology. University research on Silostop® oxygen barrier film has shown reduced mould counts in silage and increased silage aerobic stability by more than two days compared to standard polyethylene film.
Reduce the risk of mycotoxin contamination of your silage and disease in your livestock by covering with Silostop® oxygen barrier film to prevent oxygen entering the silo or bale. Inspect regularly for damage to film and bale wrap and use Silostop® Silopatches to cover holes and repair torn film.
By Professor J M Wilkinson