Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Death on the Range

It was reported by WHO last night that 150 head of cattle had died on an Adair County, Iowa feedlot owned by Doug Wedemeier last weekend after consuming their morning repast. It is suspected that the cause of their demise was contaminated feed. According to the report I viewed, the feed was produced on Wedemeier's property.

For our city friends, this represents a loss for someone of around $150,000. You'll pay for it in higher insurance premiums and more expensive beef.

Unless this is a repeat episode of industrial contamination that we see every so often, it's most likely mold metabolites such as aflatoxin that are the culprit.

It bears repeating:

Secondary market feed ingredients that you do not know the provenance of can be a witch's brew of trouble for you and your cattle. On-farm storage of feed and grain that you are using to feed your cattle has to be managed properly with special attention paid to conditions of molding and heating. Buying grain that has an excessive level of aflatoxin with the idea of blending it down is problematical because the toxin is not necessarily evenly distributed through the product-there are hot spots.

As a practical matter, I did a lot of research on the subject a couple years ago, with an eye toward publication. Ultimately that work did not come to fruition. Perhaps it's time to dust it off.


Post a Comment

<< Home