The results from the 2016 Nutriad Mycotoxin Survey showed that almost 70 percent of the wheat samples were contaminated with deoxynivalenol (DON) and 30 percent with zearalenone (ZEN) and HT2-toxin. The wheat and triticale mycotoxin survey conducted by Nutriad in 2016 concluded that this year’s harvest of wheat and triticale in Poland is of concerning quality in terms of mycotoxin contamination. Based on the results of this survey, it is the belief that this year’s wheat and triticale crop should not be considered safe for inclusion into finished feed rations for all animal species.

As expected, none of the wheat or triticale samples contained aflatoxin B1 (AfB1). Surprisingly, almost 20 percent of the samples of triticale were contaminated with fumonisin B2 (FB2), a typical corn mycotoxin. Most of the recovered mycotoxins were in concentrations regarded as medium (>LOD but below EU recommendation levels). The highest concentration of DON and ZEN found in the wheat reached 1200 μg/kg and 270 μg/kg respectively. Interestingly, 6 percent of the triticale samples contained ochratoxin A (OTA), while none of the wheat samples were contaminated with OTA, a known typical storage mycotoxin. None of the samples of wheat or triticale were contaminated with fumonisin B1 (FB1), also a typical corn mycotoxin.

Samples from across Poland

The 2016 Nutriad Mycotoxin Survey included 73 wheat and 32 triticale samples collected across Poland. All samples were collected either directly from the farms or from animal feed production sites. Sample providers followed the principles of good sampling. The analytical personnel and laboratory staff were not involved in sampling and, therefore, did not influence any part of this procedure.

More than 800 analyses were conducted to test for the presence of the eight mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities that are intended for animal feed production. All eight mycotoxins were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC MS/MS). For the purpose of data analysis, non-detection levels were based on the limits of quantification (LOQ) of the test method for each mycotoxin: AfB1 < 0.5 μg/kg; ZEN < 10 μg/kg; DON < 75 μg/kg; FB1 < 125 μg/kg; FB1 < 50 μg/kg; OTA < 1 μg/kg; HT2-toxin< 4 μg/kg and T-2 toxin < 4 μg/kg.

One of Europe's biggest grain producers

Poland is one of Europe’s biggest grain producers. Its farming sector has changed dramatically since it joined the European Union more than 10 years ago. According to the Main Statistical Office, Poland, the production of wheat, rye, mixed grains, triticale, barley, corn and oats is forecast to increase by approximately 6 percent to 29.5 million metric tons in 2016-17. This is because of the better-than-average yield expectations compared with the lower yields of 2015 which were due to the unfavorable summer weather conditions. The total acreage for grain plantings is estimated to be 3 percent higher than in 2015.

Wheat and triticale in animal feeds originates from many sources and vigilance is always advisable. Wheat, triticale, barley and oats harvested in 2016 across Europe have been shown to be contaminated with medium concentrations of mycotoxins. The last possible line of defense is the detoxification of mycotoxins in vivo. The addition of proven mycotoxin deactivators to animal feeds is a very common method to prevent mycotoxicosis and is an effective strategy to keep the risk of mycotoxin contamination low under any and all conditions.