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

Retailer Wheat
Crop InputsGrowers Looking For Selectivity, Flexibility With Fungicide Options
February 5, 2017
Selectivity remains the name of the game in 2017. “People that were more selective last year and didn’t get burned Read More
Young Corn Closeup
FungicidesArysta LifeScience Receives EPA Approval On New In-Furrow Products
February 2, 2017
Arysta LifeScience North America recently received EPA approval on two new products, both of which feature patented formulation technology that Read More
FungicidesSudden Death Syndrome In Soybeans Can Often Go Overlooked
January 26, 2017
Because the symptoms of SDS appear similar to many other soybean diseases, SDS can be easily overlooked, according to Damon Read More
Soilborne disease in soybean Martin Chilvers
FungicidesSoilborne Diseases Impact Soybeans
January 26, 2017
2016 was quite a year! Unfortunately for some it was an especially damaging year to their soybean crop from soilborne Read More
Trending Articles
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Latest News
UncategorizedPrecision Ag, Iowa Water, and GM Corn Updates
March 24, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj look at the state of precision agriculture, the dismissal of the Des Moines Water Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Enters Biostimulants Market Wit…
March 23, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. is expanding beyond biopesticides and crop protection and into the biostimulant market by commercially launching Haven Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teach…
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More
Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weed…
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Management2017 Commodity Classic Review
March 10, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss what happened at the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Read More
Farmer using AgriSync
ManagementMajor AgriSync Update Aims To Extend Ag Experts’ Power …
March 10, 2017
AgriSync announced a major update to its leading collaboration and service management tool for professional ag advisors and their farmer Read More
Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App
EquipmentNew Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App Alleviates Spraying …
March 10, 2017
There’s a new app to help farmers decide when to spray their fields. Pocket Spray Smart is a free iOS Read More
BPIA logo
Crop InputsBiological Products Trade Association Changes Name, Exp…
March 9, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), formerly the BioPesticide Industry Alliance, is the new name of the rapidly growing U.S.-based Read More
BBI MagnaSpread Salford BBI
Equipment14 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2017
March 9, 2017
Application equipment manufacturers stressed flexibility and accuracy with this year’s crop of fertilizer spreaders. From AGCO’s TerraGator TG9300B and Case IH’s 810 Read More