Dealing with DON in wheat
5. Will drying and/or storage reduce scab or DON levels in grain?
NO. DON is a stable mycotoxin and drying and/or storage will not reduce DON levels in the infected grain. If handled properly, DON levels will NOT increase once grain is harvested and stored. The fungus requires 22 to 25 percent moisture content to grow. At moisture levels below 18 percent, the scab fungus will not continue to grow. Moisture content of scabby grain going into storage should be below 13 percent. There is no evidence of DON from scabby grain continuing to increase, if grain is stored at appropriately low moisture.
6. How should DON-contaminated grain be stored?
When storing scabby grain, try not to mix it with good quality wheat. The light, thin kernels caused by scab tend to accumulate in the center of a storage bin, and hot spots may occur if higher moisture fine material is present in the core as well. Using a cleaner to remove fines from the wheat before binning and a grain spreader to distribute scabby kernels more evenly will minimize spoilage risks. If a cleaner and a spreader are not available, the wheat should be cored as soon after binning as possible.
Fields being double cropped with soybeans could be at higher moistures at harvest than in normal years. If the grain is being dried in-bin with unheated air, the grain moisture at harvest should be below 18 percent. With scabby grain, it may be necessary to increase the rate of air flow to decrease the drying time. This can be achieved by reducing the depth of grain in the drying bin below normal levels. For example, a grain depth reduction by 25% from 12 ft to 9 ft will increase the airflow through wheat from a 10 HP fan by 50%. If the harvest moisture is above 20 percent, it will be necessary to use heated air in either bin or column dryers.
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