Drought Impacts Local Dairy Farmers
Buhl, Idaho (KMVT-TV) Southern Idaho farmers may not be plagued by this year's drought, but it doesn't mean they're not impacted by it.
The severe climate conditions are producing toxins in the corn crop, which many local dairy farmers use as feed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared sixty–two percent of the nation's farms as drought disasters.
These areas could see crop yields reduced by sixty to one–hundred percent.
"The impact on the corn, the soy beans, the different crops we're consuming is going to show up in our pocket book and it's going to show up in the pocket book of the producer,” said Cam McKenzie, Alltech Ruminant Specialist.
But, as McKenzie explains there's a much larger problem for dairy farmers to be concerned about.
"A micotoxin is a compound that is caused by a mold spore in the grain, or in the forage that's being grown when that forage or grain gets stressed," said McKenzie.
The small compounds affect every organ in an animal's body leading to a variety of health problems.
"Problems with immunity, you can be looking at problems with reproduction. There's one particular micotoxin name Aflatoxin, which is regulated by the federal government as a carcinogen," said McKenzie.
Alltech, an animal health and nutrition company, has a yeast–based product that will protect the cows.
"One of our solutions is taking a part of that yeast cell and using it to bind some of those toxic compounds," said McKenzie.
It's a solution that the Mid–Valley Dairy is familiar with.
"We milk about a thousand cows. We also give the toxin binder to our newborns, so it prevents them from getting sick and they're healthier. It's kind of like a pre–biotic,” said Edie Nunes, Mid-Valley Dairy, Buhl, Idaho.
Even though micotoxins aren't a major concern here in Idaho, the Mid–Valley Dairy isn't taking any chances with its corn silage.
"We use an inoculant that will balance the pHs and the acids in the feed, so that if there's a micotoxin in it neutralizes that product too,” said Nunes.
Micotoxins are difficult and expensive to test for; therefore for Nunes, to err on the side of safety is the only solution.
Dairy farmers with questions about micotoxins can contact Alltech at its Jerome office.