Red Deer County calls for more monitoring on livestock feed

Red Deer County has thrown its support behind a call for increased provincial monitoring for a toxin found in livestock feed. Ergot is a difficult-to-detect toxin that is increasingly getting in cereal grains and processed livestock feed.

Red Deer County has thrown its support behind a call for increased provincial monitoring for a toxin found in livestock feed.

Ergot is a difficult-to-detect toxin that is increasingly getting in cereal grains and processed livestock feed. It is a plant disease caused by a fungus that affects a wide range of popular livestock feeds.

Limits have been set on the amount of ergot that can be present in feed, but there have been some incidents of cattle poisoning that suggest limits are too high.

Symptoms of ergot poisoning include lameness, excitability, belligerence, loss of appetite, pneumonia, weight loss, hair loss, foot rot and hoof sluffing.

The use of ergot feed is not regulated and the Alberta ag service boards are asking the province to put regulations in place to monitor concentrations until acceptable safe levels have been determined.

Coun. Philip Massier, who raises cattle, said a producer in the County of Stettler had cattle poisoned by ergot in feed.

Livestock producers want the research done and standards set to ensure feed supplies are safe.

“We don’t want to set a level. We want the science to set that level.”

The Central Region Ag Service Board has backed the resolution.

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