During years like this where some areas were very hot and dry, we tend see diminished gain quality. Aflatoxin is just one of the toxins that can be present in grain when a crop goes through these types of conditions. Even though aflatoxin is the most damaging and harmful to animals there are other mycotoxins that can be present as well. Thus, we recommend the complete battery of testing be done prior to putting the grain in a bin. The testing is done by the Missouri Department of Agriculture at their approved facilities with a cost of $70 per sample. Crop adjusters will gather the sample from your farm and take it to the closest facility. If the test comes back positive, the adjuster will explain the options and give suggestions on how to handle this problem.
What is Aflatoxin?
Aflatoxin is fungus that is very toxic. It is the strongest natural occurring carcinogen that we know of. Consuming grain that contains this can cause severe liver damage in humans, as well as in livestock. This toxin is freely passed through milk to offspring, thus effecting newborn animals as well as adults. It only takes a small amount. To put it in perspective, 1ppb would be like 1 corn grain in a rail carload of corn.
Corn with aflatoxin over 100ppb may not be marketable to anyone other than salvage buyers in some cases. With high enough levels of aflatoxin, there are laws in place that prohibit this affected grain from crossing state lines. Contaminated corn can be fed in limited amount or blended out for feeding specific groups of livestock. However, it is always best to consult a nutrition expert about your options before feeding. If you have further questions regarding feeding corn with toxins, please contact our office for resources provided by the University of Missouri Extension.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the quality of your corn, please contact our office immediately.
This was an example of an ear of corn that we had looked at in the office under a blacklight. Areas of possible aflatoxin contamination should glow under the blacklight. Notice how , in the light of day, it is pretty hard to notice the contamination.