Poor Corn + Moisture = Mycotoxins?

Poor growing conditions and persistent moisture increase the risk of mycotoxin contamination in 2018 US corn crops

Poor Corn + Moisture = Mycotoxins?

Growing conditions and moisture levels are critical factors in the overall health of growing corn crops. Mycotoxin contamination can start in the field if fungi infect corn ears. The risk of pre-harvest fungal growth goes up if the condition of the crop is reported to be less than optimal (e.g., damaged by weather or insects). Another factor that increases the risk even further is moisture throughout the growing season.

Ultimately, corn that is growing in locations in which crop conditions have been classified as fair, poor, or very poor; and at the same time have been subjected to a persistently moist environment are at heightened risk for yielding grain that is contaminated with mycotoxins.

2018 Corn Crop Growing Condition as of August 22nd
State % of corn crop conditions reported
as fair, poor, or very poor
Illinois 24%
Indiana 30%
Iowa 28%
Kansas 71%
Kentucky 27%
Michigan 20%
Minnesota 23%
Missouri 71%
Montana 32%
Nebraska 17%
North Dakota 18%
Ohio 22%
Oklahoma 20%
South Dakota 33%
Tennessee 35%
Wisconsin 24%

The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center database was used to identify at-risk regions with persistently moist growing conditions. The Soil Moisture Map (inset) shows persistently high levels of moisture (dark green) in several corn-growing US states from May 31st to August 27th.

Comparing this information to the corn crop quality as determined by the USDA Crop Progress and Conditions Report (see table) indicates several corn-producing states are at risk of corn crops that are contaminated by mycotoxins.

According to the Climate Prediction Center, the following states have had consistently anomalous soil moisture: Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Those states have also had double-digit percentage of fair, poor, or very poor growing conditions for corn; as have Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Tennessee, and Wisconsin. The table below indicates those levels.

This animation overlays the soil moisture data from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center with that of the crop conditions from the USDA Crop Progress and Prediction Report.

Sporadic reports of mycotoxin contamination have already begun to filter in as harvest season for many grains gets underway across the US. Not all crops are affected, but it’s essential to establish whether contamination has occurred in your supply chain and at what level.

If you or your suppliers are in the affected areas where factors conducive to mycotoxin contamination are prevalent, EnviroLogix strongly recommends careful sampling and testing. EnviroLogix makes a variety of test kits for testing mycotoxins in most grain types.

A list of EnviroLogix’ most popular mycotoxin test kits for use with the EnviroLogix QuickScan II quantitative GMO and mycotoxin detection instrument appears below:

Contact us if you have questions or concerns about how mycotoxin contamination might be present in the grain in your supply chain. We can be reached at (866) 408-4597 or info@envirologix.com.

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