The less than ideal growing conditions this year has created many issues for grain production especially wheat. The majority of the wheat in our area has been harvested and producers are experiencing large price docks and discounts at the elevator. An option is to store and feed the damaged wheat. Much of the wheat crop harvested has reported to have disease issues, low test weights, sprouts and mycotoxins or molds. In general mycotoxins have the greatest potential for affecting animal performance as a feed source. The grain needs to be dried to at least 18 percent moisture to stop mycotoxin or mold growth, however drying to 13 percent moisture is recommended for long term storage.
Before feeding any infected wheat, producers should have the grain tested. There are several types of mycotoxins each having varied toxic levels and effects on livestock. The following link lists several laboratories capable of analyzing mycotoxins: http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/ohiofieldcropdisease/t01_pageview2/Mycotoxin_Sampling_Laboratories_.htm. Once you have the test results you can determine your options for feeding damaged wheat. Blending with clean grains is one option, but this should only be done immediately prior to feeding. Contaminated grains can infect the entire batch if left in storage for prolonged periods of time. Toxic binding agents can also be used and are recommended with grains containing elevated levels of mycotoxins. Ruminants can handle higher levels of toxins than pigs or poultry. Recommended levels for each species can be found: http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/ohiofieldcropdisease/t01_pageview2/Detrimental_Feed_Concentrations.htm.