Corn, Silage Samples Show Uptick in Mold Levels

Moldy corn silage. ( Farm Journal, Inc. )

Wet growing and harvest conditions this past growing season have resulted in an uptick in the number of corn grain and silage samples that are coming up positive for mold, yeast, zearalenone and vomitoxin, reports Dairyland Labs, based in Arcadia, Wis.

If you suspect contamination of your feeds, it’s best to have them tested to determine if feed is contaminated and at what levels. Following is a list of feed sampling tips from Dairyland:

  • Whether sampling from a bin, truck or bunk it is important to obtain a representative sample.
  • The best method is to collect subsamples from areas of the bunk, silo, truck, bin, etc. and mix them. Then pull a composite to be sent to the lab.
  • Avoid sampling at the beginning or end of a load when sampling moving products.
  • If health issues due to mold or mycotoxins are suspected it is best to obtain a representative sample that is as close as possible to what the animal consumed.
  • Store samples in a cool, dry location - in bags where oxygen has been eliminated as much as possible. In the case of samples being used for mold and yeast analysis, do not freeze samples as this has the potential to cause inaccurate results. Samples for mycotoxin analysis can be frozen with no impact on sample results.
  • Realize that any added time in storage or shipping has the potential to promote additional mold & yeast growth, especially in samples greater than 13-15% moisture.
  • When interpreting results, it is important to take into consideration the storage structure being used as well as how well the composite sample represented the product.
  • If possible, try to send samples to the lab at the beginning of the week, to decrease any delayed shipping time.

For more information on dealing with molds and mycotoxins, click here.