Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan think they have a solution for feeding rye to pigs, even if the grain is contaminated with ergot.
They are using steam explosion to change the makeup of alkaloids that are the toxin in ergot.
Dr. Denise Beaulieu, an assistant professor of monogastric nutrition said very low levels of ergot can impair hog performance.
Ergot is also toxic to cattle and poultry and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency identifies it as a concern at amounts greater than one part per million.
In years when there is severe contamination in rye, we might want to take steps to prevent the effects of ergot and or other mycotoxins in case some of the grain is contaminated, Beaulieu said.
Sometimes feed mills use rye with low levels of ergot. The weather influences the amount in rye.