Mycotoxins, Nitrates and Other Toxicity Problems

Depending on its severity, nitrate toxicity can cause reduced performance or serious illness and death. This article examines the many complex factors contribute to toxicity and provides recommendations for testing and feeding forages with high nitrate content. A companion spreadsheet (Nitrogen Calculator) calculates total nitrate intake from feed and water and provides recommended adjustments to forage feeding levels to prevent toxicity.

Weather conditions during growing and harvesting seasons may appreciably increase the incidence and degree of moldy feed and mycotoxin problems from year to year. Visibly moldy feed may be free of mycotoxins, yet feed that looks fine can harbor mycotoxins that may cause production and health problems. This article explores effects of mycotoxins on animals, testing feeds for toxins, and strategies for dealing with contaminated feeds and limiting mycotoxin production.