Some corn producers in Iowa, however, have discovered DON in their corn
By Diego Flammini
Despite constant rains and delayed harvests, increased vomitoxin DON levels haven’t been an issue for some U.S. farmers.
“It’s been pretty wet in our area and we’ve still got corn to come off, but we haven’t had a problem with vomitoxin at all,” Matt Rush, a producer from Wayne County, Illinois, told Farms.com. “We’ve hauled quite a bit of corn to local processors already and our quality has been some of the best we’ve ever seen.”
Other producers agree with Rush.
“Vomitoxin hasn’t been an issue here for many years,” Blair Hoseth, a corn producer from Mahomen, Minn., told Farms.com.
That’s not to say the whole U.S. corn crop is free of DON.
Iowa farmers have found DON in their harvests.
“I have heard that farmers in the state are having trouble with vomitoxin,” Curt Mether, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, told Farms.com.
The timing of the rain is a key contributor to vomitoxin’s appearance, Mether said.
“The corn was ready, and then it started raining,” he said. “The shucks were wet and are holding that moisture around the ear, which helps that fungus to grow. Some parts of Iowa have gotten so much rain that it hasn’t given the corn a chance to dry out.”
Growers should do all they can to harvest the crop as soon as possible to reduce the potential for deductions at the elevator, he added.
“The sooner the crop is harvested, the better. But if it’s too wet, then it’s too wet,” Mether said. “If it’s bad enough, an elevator can reject the crop because it’s a damaged product. It can be a big worry.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows varying levels of vomitoxin for different feeds.
The agency will accept levels of up to one part per million (ppm) in human and pet foods, and under five ppm in grain for hogs. Chicken feed should contain under 10 ppm and beef cattle can handle toxin levels of up to 30 ppm.
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