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Identifying 9 types of ear rot in corn

Identifying the causes of post-harvest ear diseases through ear rots and kernel moisture content.

September 9, 2022

10 Slides
ear of corn in drying fieldjpg.jpg

The presence of ear rots and kernel moisture content greater than 15% is not a good combination because diseased kernels can reduce test weight, grain quality, and ultimately, yield potential. Some ear rots require hot, dry weather and others are associated with moist to wet and cooler conditions. Wounds created by insects, mechanical damage, and hail can provide openings for pathogen entrance into the kernel.  

If ear rots are found during routine scouting, identification of the causal agent is important for marketing and storage purposes, and infected fields should become a harvest priority. Identification is important because ear rot diseases such as Aspergillus and Gibberella can produce mycotoxins that are harmful and potentially deadly to humans and livestock. Infected grain should be tested by a toxicology lab to determine if mycotoxins are present. If present, appropriate marketing and/or feeding measures should be instituted based on FDA guidelines. Please see  What You Need to Know about Aflatoxin for additional information on mycotoxins associated with ear rots. 

Best management practices (BMPs) for ear rot management should begin prior to planting because little can be done to protect ears after infection except harvesting at higher moisture content and drying grain to below 14% within 48 hours. Strategies that help minimize crop stress can help reduce the potential for ear rot development.  

Related:Still prepping for harvest

Factors that can help reduce crop stress include: 

-- Soil test and fertilize accordingly. 

-- If available, irrigate to help reduce drought conditions. 

-- Use insect-protected corn products (particularly for European corn borer, earworm, and western bean cutworm). 

-- Use foliar disease-resistant corn products. 

-- Use fungicides to help manage foliar diseases. 

-- Avoid continuous corn. 

-- Utilize tillage to manage infected residue.    

Check out the gallery for more on each disease and information. Those in red have the potential to produce poisonous mycotoxins. 

Source: DeKalb Asgrow, who is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

 

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