Beware of what you feed to your wildlife!

A member of the KWF Board of Directors went down to a local Coop elevator to purchase some corn to fill his deer feeders. He was told their “Deer Corn” had been tested and found to have Aflatoxin, so it should not be fed to cattle or sheep. No mention was made as to its impact on other wildlife. So he contacted his local Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism regional office.

Aflatoxins are a group of chemicals produced by certain mold fungi. These fungi, Aspergillus flavusand Aspergillus parasiticus, can be recognized by yellow-green or gray-green, respectively, on corn kernels, in the field or in storage. Although aflatoxins are not automatically produced whenever grain becomes moldy, the risk of aflatoxin contamination is greater in damaged, moldy corn than in corn with little mold. Aflatoxins are harmful or fatal to livestock and are considered carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to animals and humans.

Since ruminants are similar, if it can’t be fed to cattle it probably shouldn’t be fed to deer. Placing high levels of Aflatoxin in areas where quail, pheasants, prairie-chicken, turkey and other birds may get it is even more detrimental to those and other avian species. 

Unfortunately, the KDWPT has no authority in this regard. It is legal in Kansas to sell and feed moldy grain. All KDWPT can do is inform people that using moldy grain of any kind is dangerous and detrimental to the wildlife species people enjoy viewing.

If you get a bag of moldy grain, do like our Board member did: take it back and trade it for grain without Aflatoxin.