Increasing levels of dietary fumonisin do not adversely affect feedlot cattle performance, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist in Amarillo.
After a tumultuous 2017 corn season resulting in grain price discounts due to fumonisin, Dr. Jenny Jennings, AgriLife Research beef nutritionist in Amarillo, conducted a controlled beef cattle feeding study to determine the dangers of the mycotoxin in feed corn.
Jennings said a lack of scientific literature on ruminant exposure to levels between 25 parts per million and 120 parts per million led FDA to choose a “conservative” limit of 60 parts per million as the guideline for corn fed to cattle in a feedlot. The guideline is corn with 60 parts per million fumonisin levels cannot make up more than 50 percent of their ration.
Bell said there were many unanswered questions about the guidance levels, testing procedures, discounts at the elevator and feeding within the beef industry.
Both Jennings and Bell stressed this study does not change the implications of other livestock feeding regimes. But Jennings hopes her findings will contribute to updating the guidance levels for beef cattle.
“The results of our study support the theory of reduced susceptibility of beef cattle to the effects of fumonisin and suggests that this reduced susceptibility may hold true for cattle fed to heavier final weights and for longer feeding periods, such as in a commercial feedlot setting,” Jennings said.
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