Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Field-Based Integrated Management Plan for Mycotoxins in Midwest Corn

item Dowd, Patrick

Submitted to: Corn Dry Milling Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2001
Publication Date: June 1, 2001

Technical Abstract: Mycotoxins in corn can be highly variable in degree and occurrence from year to year and location to location. Although aflatoxins have been a limited problem in the Midwest since 1988, fumonisins have been more widely distributed. Values across the state of Illinois can range from 0 to over 20 ppm in any given year, while a particular location may have ranges from 0 to near 20 ppm over a several year period. Factors such as weather, hybrid, location, and insects all influence the prevalence and ability of the responsible ear molds to invade the ear and produce mycotoxins. Prior work has been targeted towards development of individual components needed to formulate a comprehensive management plan for mycotoxins, and enough of the components are now available to be able to put together and test a management plan. As new strategies arise, these can be incorporated as well. Presently the Central Illinois Irrigated Growers Association, which is comprised of 200 small farmers in a two-county area of Illinois, is the main focus of this testing. A seed company, vegetable company, farm service organization, and university extension are also involved in supplying data and assisting farmers in gathering and evaluating information. Additional testing sites and cooperators with sufficient capabilities are being sought for further expansion. Due to the variability in farmer preferences for different hybrids and management strategies, the current plan is designed to help farmers make decisions designed to reduce mycotoxins in corn with minimal impact on overall management strategies they currently use. Current recommendations include crop rotation (if feasible), which also helps with mold problems such as gray leaf spot; and use of Bt corn hybrids (if acceptable to buyers), which now have been shown to greatly reduce fumonisin levels in several instances in Iowa, Illinois, Italy, France, and Spain. A predictive computer program is used to alert farmers that weather conditions up to silking may promote conditions favoring different levels of fungal inoculum so that desired and available control measures for insects (and potentially fungi in the future) can be used. The program also provides potential mycotoxin levels at harvest based on subsequent weather and insect occurrence through to grain fill so that early harvest can be initiated if desired to reduce potential mycotoxin levels. Several locations are intensively monitored (including determining mycotoxin levels) to provide feedback for the success of the program. Last year (the first year of the test) the program correctly predicted that although relatively high levels of fumonisin-producing mold inoculum were present, insect control would not help due to low insect populations. Predicted levels of fumonisins were close to actual levels obtained for known hybrids.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
Footer Content Back to Top of Page