Take Precautions to Minimize the Risk of Mycotoxins in Corn This Fall

The growing season in Wisconsin and other areas in the upper Midwest this year has been a challenge.  There has been high incidence of foliar disease and mold in the ears in many fields.  Higher levels of the plant pathogens also means an increased potential for mycotoxins in feeds.

It is important to remember that just because corn plants have molds and plant disease does not automatically mean that toxins are present, but it does indicate that there is an increased risk that they are.  Some of the corn silage hybrids in the trials at the research station at Arlington did have vomitoxin, also known as deoxynivalenol (DON) in the 8 to 10 ppm range.

We are strongly encouraging producers to test any corn feeds this year for mycotoxins to know what the status of the feed is, in order to manage accordingly.

Extra precautions are also in order if beef producers are looking at grazing corn residue or using stalks for feed and or bedding.  See the posting by Dr. Radunz from 2009 for considerations on utilizing corn residue when we have weather conditions like this year: Beef cattle producers should use caution when grazing corn stalks or feeding baled corn stalks this winter

Dr. Damon Smith, UW Extension Field Crops Plant Pathologist has a post at his website on an overview of plant disease, molds and toxins and information on where to get feeds tested at: What to Expect from Stalk Rot and Mycotoxins in Severely Diseased and Damaged Corn