Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): Dr. Jim House
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Reference: Proceedings of the 2003 Manitoba Swine Seminar
Country: Canada


Fusarium (FHB) species naturally excrete a mycotoxin called DON that is very toxic to swine, causing vomiting and feed refusal. There is an estimated 7.5% reduction in feed
Intake for every 1 ppm DON found in the feed. Manitoba in particular seems to have trouble with FHB, so the University of Manitoba is conducting research to address the problem. This research was aimed at determining what the maximum amount of DON that can be fed is, if there are any decontamination strategies, or if there are any feed additives that could be used.

Research found that 2-ppm of DON in the diet resulted in a 7.6% reduction of feed intake, but were not seriously affected production-wise. The presence of up to 4 ppm DON in the diet had no adverse effects on swine over the entire grower-finisher period. These results work against the CFIA theory that pigs are unable to tolerate even low levels of DON. Similar experiments performed on piglets yielded the same results.

Physical treatment via heat is ineffective at decontaminating infected grain. Pearling, however, appeared to show promise in removing the layer of grain contaminated with DON. A chemical treatment known as ammoniation proved to be ineffective as well. Washing with water and sodium carbonate proved to be 70 to 90% effective, but the producer will incur a cost of drying the grains after. This of course is not a problem if the mill is equipped for wet milling. Biological processes such as bacterial treatment show promise, but more research is needed. The only alternative at this time is dietary compensation to counter the effects of DON. At this time, no magic bullet exists to fight off FHB and DON.

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