Alltech Symposium Serves International Audience

Attended by delegates from more than 60 countries, Alltech's International Feed Industry Symposium provided an abundance of information for those involved with horses, poultry, pigs, dairy and beef cattle, agronomy, aquaculture, and companion animals. Each year, the meeting, held in Lexington, Ky., provides a forum for researchers and international industry leaders to gather, exchange ideas, and discuss issues relating to animal science and the future of the animal feed industry.

Topics in the equine section included mycotoxin (poison exuded by some mold species) contamination, problems related to nutrition, antioxidants in exercising horses, starch digestion in the small intestine, identifying and solving semen quality problems, and many more.

Mycotoxin Researcher Recognized

Trevor Smith, BSc, MSc, PhD, professor at the University of Guelph in Canada, was awarded Alltech's 2003 Medal of Excellence in Bioscience for the Feed Industry for his groundbreaking research into mycotoxins and for his work on the efficacy and mode of action of natural solutions to mycotoxicosis. Mycotoxicosis can result in numerous health problems in the horse, and some types of mycotoxins are deadly and can be very difficult to detect.

"Twenty-five percent of the world's grain supply is contaminated," said Smith. "And that is a figure from 1985. This is an increasing problem. Molds are everywhere, and mycotoxins are the weapon of choice for molds."

Improving Breeding Programs

In today's competitive equine market, developing strategies to succeed and grow can mean the difference for an equine business. Michael White, an equine advisor for Teagasc (the Agriculture and Food Development Authority) in Tipperary, Ireland, spoke about promoting growth of the Irish equine industry in the global market. The suggestions he gave the audience can be applied to many equine breeding programs for increased prosperity. White advises his clients to use a four-pronged approach, which he calls the BEST package. BEST stands for breeding, efficiency, sales, and training.

"Quality breeding is still the key to success," White said.

Stallion Semen Quality

Stallion owners must determine if their stallions have what it takes physically to make a good breeding prospect, including good semen quality, before the start of the breeding season. Peter Sheerin, DVM, Dipl. ACT, a reproduction specialist at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., discussed determination of semen quality and what could be done to improve poor quality in sub-fertile stallions.

For more information on these and other topics from Alltech's 2003 symposium, see the Alltech section under Convention Reports at

About the Author

Sarah Evers Conrad

Sarah Evers Conrad has a bachelor’s of arts in journalism and equine science from Western Kentucky University. As a lifelong horse lover and equestrian, Conrad started her career at The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care magazine. She has also worked for the United States Equestrian Federation as the managing editor of Equestrian magazine and director of e-communications and served as content manager/travel writer for a Caribbean travel agency. When she isn’t freelancing, Conrad spends her free time enjoying her family, reading, practicing photography, traveling, crocheting, and being around animals in her Lexington, Kentucky, home.

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