GFM Network News

Sunset in Egypt on the Nile River south of Luxor. (

Egypt returns to zero tolerance of ergot in wheat

Abu Dhabi/Cairo | Reuters — Egypt has rejected two shipments of wheat for containing trace levels of the ergot fungus, backtracking on a government pledge to apply international standards and alarming traders looking to do business with the world’s largest buyer of the grain. Earlier this year traders boycotted state wheat tenders after the country’s […] Read more

trees and leaves

Majestic trees threatened by Dutch elm disease

Here are tips for spotting this devastating disease and preventing its spread

Reading Time: 2 minutes Alberta Dutch Elm Disease Awareness Week concluded on June 28. “American elms are planted extensively in Alberta and throughout the years have become the tree of choice for the Prairies with good reason,” said Janet Feddes-Calpas of the Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease (STOPDED) executive director. “These giants with their height and broad vase-shaped […] Read more

The symptoms of lameness related to ergot toxicity can be mistaken for foot root in the initial stages, but do not respond to treatment.  Photo: University of Calgary

Were those frozen ears and sore feet caused by a cold winter?

Ergot-contaminated feed is causing a wide range of easily misdiagnosed 
herd health problems in Western Canada

Reading Time: 4 minutes Long, brutally cold Prairie winters could be masking signs of a serious toxin lurking in livestock producers’ feed bins, a University of Calgary veterinary professor warned feed and livestock industry officials recently. Dr. Eugene Janzen, assistant dean of clinical practice, said he was initially perplexed in the winter of 2013 when he observed Alberta feedlot […] Read more

It is impossible to determine whether pelleted feed contains ergot toxins without laboratory testing. The sample on the left contains 230 ppb ergot toxins. The sample on the right contains 38,900 ppb.

Ergot becomes invisible in manufactured feed

Researchers and feed makers say new guidelines for assessing risk are needed

Reading Time: 2 minutes The two pictures of pelleted feed veterinary toxicologist Dr. Barry Blakley put up on the screen at a recent ergot symposium here looked identical. But one had enough toxins in it to kill livestock. The rising levels of ergot in western Canadian cereal grains and forages has turned into a nightmare for the manufactured feed […] Read more

Be on the lookout for Dutch elm disease

Owners urged to water healthy trees well from April to mid-August

Reading Time: 2 minutes Albertans are being asked to be on the lookout for Dutch elm disease. “At present, Alberta has the largest DED-free American elm stand in the world, and it is important to protect this valuable resource,” says Janet Feddes-Calpas, executive director, Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease (STOPDED). “STOPDED is asking for everyone’s assistance to save […] Read more