Heat, Drought Lead To Ear Rot Potential In Corn

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.

The USDA 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% moisture.”

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

“All grain contaminated by ear rot fungus should be stored separately from good grain and stored below 13% 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 here.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Fungicides Stories

Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide Sweepstakes
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More
soybean field
FungicidesArysta LifeScience Introduces TEPERA Brand Fungicides
April 7, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America continues to evaluate two new products featuring patented formulation technology that is liquid fertilizer-compatible for in-furrow Read More
Peanut field
FungicidesArysta LifeScience Receives EPA Approval Of Fungicide Seed Treatment
April 5, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced it received approval from the EPA of RANCONA V PD, a broad-spectrum fungicide dust Read More
Corn Earworm
FungicidesInsects And Diseases In 2016: Early Planting, More Stress
April 4, 2016
First, the good news: If we consider all the issues growers and retailers are facing right now — low commodity Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
Latest News
Patriot 4440 Sprayer close up
ManagementFlashing Back And Moving Forward On Spray Drift
May 3, 2016
The potential for pesticide drift remains an unavoidable feature of modern agriculture. Here, too, history repeats itself. “When Roundup debuted, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesSurvey Provides Insights On Giant Ragweed In The Corn B…
May 2, 2016
A new survey published in the journal Weed Science offers insights into the distribution and management of giant ragweed, a Read More
Truck dumping dry fertilizer
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics Q&A: Southern States’ Joe Wlod…
May 2, 2016
Joe Wlodkoski, Director of Agronomy Procurement, Fertilizer, Southern States Cooperative, is a 40-plus year fertilizer industry veteran. He is quite Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
West Central Dome structure
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics 2016: All Clear, So Far
May 1, 2016
After a relatively hairy early start to the spring fertilizer movement season with flooding in Louisiana and St. Louis, things Read More
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More
Corn Field
HerbicidesNew Wilbur‐Ellis Herbicide Targets Volunteer Corn
April 28, 2016
Wilbur‐Ellis Co., a recognized leader in marketing and distribution of crop protection products, as well as precision agriculture technology, has Read More
StewardshipNRCS To Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts On Wa…
April 27, 2016
The USDA has announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as Read More
Planter in Iowa
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics For #Plant16
April 27, 2016
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
HerbicidesHELM AGRO Launches New HELM Sulfentrazone 4F Herbicide
April 26, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new HELM Sulfentrazone 4F herbicide. Classified as a Read More
Valley Irrigation Valley 8000 series on corn
EquipmentValley Irrigation Receives Environmental Stewardship Ho…
April 26, 2016
Valley Irrigation has been recognized as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Guardian Green Site Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More