What is the Long Term Impact of Feeding DON to Finishing Pigs?
Grains contaminated with mycotoxins are commonly downgraded for livestock feed. Best practice is to avoid using this, though that is getting increasingly difficult due to increased incidence and level of contamination. Corn, wheat, oats and barley are commonly contaminated by the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON). DON is one of the most prevalent mycotoxins worldwide, so strategies are needed that allow mycotoxin-contaminated grain use in livestock feed. Grower-finisher pigs have higher feed intake and therefore a possible longer exposure time compared to other stages, so the effects of mycotoxins may be greater. Older pigs may be able to adapt to DON-contaminated feed and recover feed intake and growth performance after a period of exposure. Long-term feeding of graded levels of DON in finisher pigs was observed. Pigs fed 3 and 5 ppm DON had reduced body weight after one week in the study. Average daily gain for these groups dropped for the first three weeks then recovered by week 4 when fed 3 ppm DON and week 5 when fed 5 ppm DON. Average daily feed intake and feed efficiency were reduced but recovered as well. The reduction in performance associated with DON intake seems to be mainly due to the reduction in feed intake that occurred after experimental diets were implemented. These results indicate that pigs have the ability to adapt to diets contaminated with DON. Feed intake and growth performance recovered to the level of the control pigs, but body weight did not.