Multiple losses in the livestock sector

Background information 1In general, it is estimated that mycotoxins account for 5-10% of annual crop losses worldwide.b Considering an average EU-wide production of wheat, maize and oats of about 203 million tons since 2005 (worth about 33 billion €), losses could easily exceed 1 billion € per year.

The EU produces yearly about 133 million tons (MT) wheat (~M€ 29038), 68 MT maize (~M€ 13571) and 8 MT oats (~M€ 1543). Results using latest state-of-the-art multi-analyte methods show that almost 100% of the crops is contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. With annual losses due to mycotoxins estimated at 5-10%, this could in the worst case equate to €1.2-2.4 billion (Bn) in lost income for wheat alone, a reduction in these losses of only 1% would save €12-24 Mio.

Exposure of livestock to mycotoxins may also lead to substantial economic losses. While mycotoxicoses in agricultural animals are regularly reported, it is difficult to get an accurate estimate of the burden of market loss associated with animal health and productivity, and loss of animal feed. However, several publications from different parts of the world provide some insight into the potential magnitude of the problem. A loss of 225 million US$ per annum for feed maize was estimated in the USA due to contamination with aflatoxins, and an additional loss of livestock of 4 million US$ per annum. Losses due to decreased weight gain in pigs resulting from fumonisin contamination of DDGS (dried distillers' grain soluble from bioethanol production) in the USA were estimated at 147 million US$ annually.

The majority of the estimate are limited to aflatoxin and fumonisin in a few countries only. This shows that on a worldwide basis and taking account of other commodities and other mycotoxins as well, the losses in the livestock sector will be multiple.