Aflatoxin contamination damages corn in parts of Texas every year, but ongoing research, including use of a competing fungus that does not produce toxins may help farmers cope with the problem.
Every year some Texas corn producing areas south of the Red River experience higher than normal levels of aflatoxin. This year has been no exception. It has hit Central Texas, which produces approximately 15 percent of the Texas corn crop, according to the Texas Corn Producers Board, with headquarters in Lubbock, Texas.
While the entire Central Texas region has recorded varying levels of aflatoxin this year, it has struck the Blacklands particularly hard.
“Unfortunately, the southern part of the Blacklands had a bad combination of weather events this year that produced conditions where this fungus could thrive and it’s been just devastating to some of our producers,” said David Gibson, executive director of TCPB.
Adding to their problems and frustration, some producers in the area feel victimized by inconsistent sampling and testing methods. Having good samples is essential to testing accuracy Gibson said.
A uniform sampling method is not used across all buying points in the state; while some grain elevators use probes to collect testing samples others scoop samples from the top of the trucks. This inconsistency in turn affects the test results.