Contaminated Grain Should Not Be Fed to Wildlife
In years with extremely dry weather farmers’ grain can be contaminated with aflatoxins. Aflatoxin is produced by a type of mold that, at certain levels, is harmful or fatal to livestock and is considered a carcinogen to animals and humans.
As a result, it is important that all farmers handle grain that has aflatoxin appropriately.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship as well as cooperatives and other grain buyers actively sample grains for aflatoxin so that food and feed remain safe.
Aflatoxin usually occurs in a small area, and not uniformly through entire fields. If a producer has contaminated grain, what can they do with it?
Farmers or feed manufactures with questions can contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship for more information about handling contaminated grain.
Grain can also be disposed of by sending it to a landfill or plowing it deep into the ground. Other disposal methods, like incineration, are acceptable but may be too expensive.
Contaminated grain should not be fed to wildlife. Alflatoxin can be fatal to turkeys, pheasants, quail, songbirds and other migratory birds.
Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the DNR’s Wildlife Bureau said it is important that farmers understand the price that is paid by wild animals that eat the contaminated grain.
“If the grain does not meet the standard for livestock feed, you should not feed it to wildlife,” Garner said. “Land applying it without covering it up can kill birds and cause problems for other wildlife species.”