GFM Network News


Ergot (seen at right) is a common cause of mycotoxin in grains.

Mycotoxins and beef cattle

Health: News Roundup from the January 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

The Beef Cattle Research Council recently posted an article on mycotoxins and how they affect beef cattle. Mycotoxins are produced by certain types of fungi. Fusarium and ergot are two of the most common causes. Mycotoxins can be found in green pasture, cereal swaths, standing corn for winter grazing, cured and ensiled grass, cereal forages […] Read more

The first three years of the study were done on lambs and cattle are next, if funding is approved.

Ergot contamination more complex than first imagined

The process of converting ergot-contaminated grain into feed pellets may decrease its toxicity, contrary to popular belief, according to a recent Alberta Agriculture study. However, the concentration as well as the types of ergot alkaloids present affects its toxicity to livestock, raising more questions about this harmful fungus. “The impact of the ergot is going […] Read more


Sustained intake of ergot contaminated feed will shut down blood supply to an animal's extremities, and over time, worsen its condition.

Ergot poisoning: An ancient scourge remains a problem in modern rations

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

The negative impacts of ergot contamination in food were recognized as early as the fifth century AD. Ergot, a plant parasite, commonly affects rye grass, but wheat, rye, barley, oats, brome, fescue, blue, timothy, western and intermediate wheatgrass and other grasses can also be infected. Environmental conditions associated with a cool wet spring followed by […] Read more

Mycotoxins know no bounds

DON is the No. 1 mycotoxin found in several Canadian cereal crops

Awesome turned awful as September rolled into October with its short wet days and longer wet nights downgrading many cereal crops to feed quality across the Prairies. To make matters worse, a lot of grain that did make it into the bin was infected with fusarium and to a lesser extent with ergot. The fusarium […] Read more


If you’ve got mouldy hay and grain, what are your options?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

As the calving season is fast approaching, it is appropriate to address one of the important causes of abortion in cattle that being mouldy feed. Mould can be a result of either fungal or yeast infection of cereals or forages grown for feed. Infection occurs in the field during plant growth or during harvest/storage. Examples […] Read more