Flood waters may have receded, but risks of flood water contamination for livestock and humans and mold in corn, soybeans and forage crops are still present.

State agriculture officials are warning livestock producers and feed mills to be alert to these risks, according to a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) news release. 

Flood waters may contain sewage, bacteria and other pathogens, pesticides, chemical wastes, and other toxins that contaminate field crops and stored feed and may sicken animals that consume them. Mold growth is often a problem, both in and outside of flooded areas, in a wet humid season like much of Wisconsin experienced this year.

“Mycotoxins produced by some molds may sicken animals that consume moldy feed, and could also sicken people who consume milk or meat from those animals,” Acting State Veterinarian Dr. Darlene Konkle said in the release. 

“We’ve sent our environmental specialists to check feed mills in flooded areas of the state to check whether feed products or ingredients may have come in contact with flood waters,” noted feed program manager Heather Bartley of DATCP. “Producers who store ingredients at elevators or feed mills until they need it for on-farm mixing should be aware of the flood status of those businesses and the possibility of mycotoxins.”

Information for producers on harvesting crops in flooded areas can be found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. According to the release, the agency advises testing crops exposed to flood waters for mycotoxins, heavy metals, bacterial pathogens and chemicals, especially organophosphate and chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides. Depending on the test results, it may be possible to recondition the crop for use as animal feed.

Any feed ingredients or feed showing signs of mold should also be tested for mycotoxins, including aflatoxin, which may be a carcinogen.

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