Aspergillus ear rot and aflatoxin production
Notify your insurance adjuster immediately if you have fields with Aspergillus ear rot. Infested fields need to be inspected before harvest or strips left in the field for a claim to be made.
Harvest grain at approximately 20 to 25 percent moisture. Adjust combine settings to ensure minimal damage to the grain. Damaged grain is at risk to infection by A. flavus in storage.
Cool and dry grain to 16 percent moisture or less immediately. One study showed that if corn grain at 21 percent MC was put in bin at 86F and cooled with air immediately, little fungal growth was detected and no aflatoxin was produced. If cooling was delayed 20 to 40 h, the fungus grew and aflatoxin was detected.
Thanks to Tom Isakeit at Texas A & M for reviewing an earlier draft of this article and sharing his experiences with aflatoxin.