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U of M Research Shows Swine Tolerance to DON Higher than Previously Believed

by 5m Editor
23 December 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1411. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1411

Research conducted at the University of Manitoba shows swine can tolerate higher levels of fusarium mycotoxins in barley based rations than had been previously thought.

Current recommendations are to keep deoxynivalenon or DON at less than one part per million in swine diets.

The university's Animal Science Department has completed three trials, one with starter pigs and two with grower finisher pigs, to see if those guidelines can go to higher.

Associate Professor Dr. Jim House says the works shows swine can tolerate higher levels of DON without a significant impact on performance.

"In the first trial we went up to two parts per million and saw a slight reduction in performance in gilts but not in barrows.

In the two following trials we saw absolutely no difference in performance in the starter pigs up to two parts per million or in the grow finish trial up to four parts per million on average daily gain, days to market.

We're showing, in our data at least, that using barley that's contaminated with fusarium mycotoxins, in particular the DON, that we can feed higher than one part per million.

We know from the literature that deoxynivalenon or these fusarium mycotoxins reduce feed intake primarily.

We're not finding that so that begs the question as to why? There's a number of factors including the use of current genetics. These pigs are basically geared to eat so they may not be as sensitive. Other environmental factors may play a role in terms of the ability to break down these mycotoxins.

We don't really know whether or not barley makes a difference verses corn or wheat. Most of the studies in the past have been corn based diets and we don't really know whether or not there's something intrinsic about barley that's helping to offset some of the negative effects so that's another angle that we're approaching".

Dr. House says, despite the higher tolerances, it is still important to minimize DON contamination.

He says several options for reducing mycotoxin levels, including washing the grain and pearling the grain, are now being explored.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor