Mycotoxins are toxins which are produced by moulds growing on crops, in the field or on stored materials which are likely to then be used later in animal feeds.

Clinical signs of mycotoxicosis include reduced growth, reduced egg production and quality, reduced hatchability, increased water intake, damage to internal body organs and increased morbidity and mortality. Growing birds are often affected by impaired bone quality and subclinical coccidiosis. There can also be neurological, immunological and physiological effects.

Therefore, mycotoxins can have a severe effect on both animal welfare and production, making their detection essential.

Testing of raw materials is regularly done to assess the level of mycotoxins which are to be used for animal feeds and Sportsman routinely monitor mycotoxin levels and the latest harvest results to ensure our feeds are safe and of good quality.

Two of the most important mycotoxins are DON and Zearalenone. Results of the 2018 harvest mycotoxin levels show that wheat DON and Zearalenone levels are low. Barley DON levels are low. Zearalenone levels are slightly higher in barley but still not of concern. Except for barley Zearalenone, 2018 mycotoxin levels are lower than the 2017 harvest. The 2018 maximum barley Zearalenone levels are similar to the 2017 harvest, however the average is higher, although not as high as the average levels reported in 2015. 

All reported mycotoxin levels are below the legal limits in cereals stated by the European Union Commission (2006/576/EC) and not of concern for inclusion in poultry feeds. Accordingly, Sportsman agree there is no general need to add mycotoxin binders to the feed - the use of binders can reduce the negative effects of mycotoxins if they are present at higher levels.