Accounting for variation in cereal quality by failing to formulate diets on the actual quality of cereals being used, and taking into account variation, for example, between loads can have significant impacts on performance and feed costs in all classes of livestock.

That is the reasoning behind Trouw Nutrition GB's CerealWatch service, which provides routine testing of cereals for feed manufacturers and farmers.

“To ensure feed formulation is as precise as possible to maximise both animal and economic performance, it is important to monitor grain quality routinely,” comments monogastric technical support manager Alice Hibbert. “This is particularly important as new crop cereals start to be incorporated into diets.”

The grain monitoring service evaluates the nutritional value of grain quality. Analysis is carried out in the company’s Derbyshire laboratory and using methodology from the Trouw Nutrition feed ingredient research and development laboratory in the Netherlands, a comprehensive nutritional profile of the sample is provided. This includes predictions for energy for pigs, poultry and ruminants, and digestible amino acids for pigs and poultry.

In 2016, she said new crop cereal energy values (Pig NE, Ruminant ME and Poultry AMEn) varied by 16% in wheat, and 22% in barley on average while Lysine content varied by 60% in wheat and 41% in barley respectively, which was only revealed after analysis of cereals was carried out.

In addition to the suite of nutrients reported in the 2016 CerealWatch package, mycotoxin analysis for Zearalenone (ZEA), Deoxynivalenol (DON) and T2 and HT-2 have been added. Hence reports this year will provide cumulative average mycotoxin values for new crop wheat and barley giving an early indication of new crop field borne mycotoxin presence.

While in excess of 200 mycotoxins are known to exist, the four selected for analysis in the provide an indication of field borne toxin production by the Fusarium species of fungi.

These toxins are known to have impacts on livestock performance. Risk varies with variety, region, preceding crop, cultivation, and rainfall at the flowering and pre-harvest stages. Analysis for mycotoxins provides a valuable understanding of the extent of contamination, allowing decisions to be made on risk mitigation.