A study was conducted on 124 farms in Sweden and Norway where fungal (all farms) and mycotoxin (100 of the 124 farms) presence was examined in wrapped forage bales. Samples were also analysed for chemical composition, and data on the bale production and storage system on each farm were collected. Fungi, analysed by three common sampling methods, were found in bales from 89% of the visited farms (110 farms). The most frequently isolated fungal species from the bale surface was Penicillium roqueforti. Mycotoxins were present in 39% of the 100 samples analysed. The most common mycotoxins present were enniatin B (14 farms) followed by deoxynivalenol (12 farms). The risk of finding fungi in baled forage samples was higher with odds ratio (OR) of 5.1 when less than eight layers of stretch film were applied, low seal integrity of wrapping (OR 172 at <10 s of seal integrity), higher dry‐matter content (OR 1.17–1.56 per % unit DM) and higher concentrations of acetic acid (OR 47.5 per g DM) and ethanol (OR 3.4 per g DM). Mycotoxin presence was not found to be correlated with any of the chemical characteristics of the baled forage, or with any forage production and management factors. A positive correlation was present between total fungal counts and general mycotoxin presence, but not between specific mycotoxins and the toxin‐producing fungal species.
- Hygienic quality