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.
Parts per billion
These facilities are measuring levels in parts per billion (PPB), which means they are essentially testing for one kernel of corn in a 45-foot high, 16-foot diameter grain bin; this would be like searching for one second of time in 32 years, which equates to 1 ppb. When needing such a precise measurement, it is crucial to obtain a testing sample that accurately reflects the grains’ overall condition.
“We have a good system for keeping certain levels of aflatoxin out of our food and feed supplies, but we need to take a closer look at some of the sampling methods to safeguard the interests of both consumers and producers,” Gibson said.
More than 90 percent of the Texas corn crop is bought for livestock feed and used within the state. The total production of corn in Texas is going to exceed 225 million bushels this year. Approximately two-thirds of the corn is produced in the Panhandle and High Plains where aflatoxin is very rare, with the rest of the state accounting for the balance of production.