Heat, drought lead to ear rot potential in corn grain, silage

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Heat and drought in the Corn Belt have created the perfect conditions for Aspergillus ear rot to develop in corn grain and silage — something Purdue Extension plant pathologists say grain and livestock producers need to prepare for.

The disease is caused by a fungus that produces aflatoxin, a toxic carcinogen for livestock that consume contaminated grain or silage.

Aspergillus ear rot normally shows up near the end of the corn growing season as the crop reaches the dent phase. Growers can identify the disease by peeling back the husks and looking for stunted ears with an olive-green dusty mold.

"This year presents a unique challenge for producers since corn may be cut for silage and many fields have poorly pollinated plants and limited kernel set," Kiersten Wise said. "Growers have asked questions about assessing the potential for Aspergillus ear rot and aflatoxin to occur in these fields."

The fungus that causes ear rot needs kernels on an ear to develop. Without ears or kernels, Aspergillus ear rot and aflatoxin won't be a problem.

If ears with kernels are present in a field, Wise said it's important to determine if aflatoxin is present. Both corn silage and grain can be submitted for analysis by a professional laboratory, such as Purdue's Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (https://www.addl.purdue.edu/).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has set thresholds for the amount of aflatoxin tolerated in grain, depending on the end use. According to Charles Woloshuk, those restrictions are especially tight for the dairy industry.

"Aflatoxins are of concern to dairy producers in particular because the Federal Drug Administration regulations require aflatoxin residues in milk to be less than 0.5 parts per billion," he said. "To prevent the carryover of aflatoxins into milk, silage and other feed components should not contain greater than 20 parts per billion."

Other restrictions are:

* Corn for animal feed or human consumption: 20 parts per billion.

* Corn grain for breeding cattle, swine and mature poultry: 100 parts per billion.

* Corn grain for finishing swine of 100 pounds or more: 200 parts per billion.

* Corn grain for finishing beef cattle: 300 parts per billion.

The bad news for both grain and livestock producers is that at this point in the season there is little they can do to manage Aspergillus ear rot or aflatoxin. The best they can do now, according to Wise, is scout prior to harvest and determine if there is a problem and, if so, its severity.

"If any Aspergillus ear rot is observed in a field, affected areas should be harvested early and grain segregated to avoid aflatoxin contamination of non-infected grain," she said. "Grain harvested with suspected Aspergillus ear rot should be dried to below 15 percent moisture."

Aflatoxin can continue to accumulate in grain or silage with kernels kept above 15 percent moisture.

"All grain contaminated by ear rot fungus should be stored separately from good grain and stored below 13 percent moisture to prevent further growth of fungi," Wise said.

More information about this disease is available in a free Purdue Extension publication, "Diseases of Corn: Aspergillus Ear Rot," available by clicking here


Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left


High Capacity Roller Belt Conveyors

These high capacity units feature a lagged drive roller, troughing idlers, rubber disc return rollers, and an automatic belt tensioning ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form