Consequences of Vomitoxin

By Alec Miller, Sustainable Plant Systems major

Pathogens can cause major concerns all over the world. My hometown had a major problem 4 years ago when the local feed grinding mill used corn that contained t vomitoxin levels that were too high (above acceptable ). The feed wasn’t tested right or not enough. The mill sent the feed out to three different large cattle farms. A couple of days go by then the farmers noticed that their cattle were looking extremely thin and some very ill. At first the farms thought it was just a common illness. Later that morning some cows in the pasture were actually dead. Well the farmers soon got in touch with each other and all three of them received feed that day.  Further testing was taken and the feed contained the corn that had vomitoxin. Lawsuits were filed on this issue and farmers were paid for their treatments and market value of their dead cattle. This hurt the farmer’s pockets and their mental mind set. They had lots of work in the cattle that died. Total 400 cows were ill and 35 were killed. This is an important issue to me because we have local meat markets in the area that all bought from the three farmers. A notice in the meat prices were slightly higher and the meat had to come from different beef farmers.  This problem just really grinds my gears too because it could have been avoided easily. If the mill just took their time and tested the grain properly, there wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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