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Agronomy Talk

CENTRAL IOWA - WADE KENT, CCA

Keep An Eye Out for Corn Ear Rots

Published on Friday, September 23, 2016

As corn begins to dry down for harvest, we need to be on the lookout for corn ear rots. Numerous fungi exist that can cause ear rots, all of which are influenced by specific weather and environmental conditions. Cool, wet conditions at silking would tend to favor the development of Gibberella ear rot, while Aspergilus will tend to be an issue when conditions are hot and dry. 

All ear rots can cause yield loss, however, certain ones can produce mycotoxins that can cause death when fed to animals. Scouting for ear rots involves examining the ear for mold and discoloration. If scouting results in 10 percent or more of the plants being infected and 25 percent or more of the ear having mold, those fields should be harvested as soon as possible, and grain should be dried to 15 percent moisture content.

Additionally, do not store moldy grain. Instead feed it or sell it. If you plan to feed, it should be tested for any potential mycotoxins. It should also be noted that fields with stalk rot are at greater risk for corn ear rots.

Author: Wade Kent

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