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.
Major TCPB focus
Aflatoxin has been a major focus of research funded by the Texas Corn Producers Board through the statewide corn checkoff program.
“Public and private research efforts are starting to produce some positive results, but much more research needs to be done,” Gibson said. “We have some producers who report they have been able to reduce their aflatoxin risk by using certain practices and products. We are making progress, but that’s no consolation to producers who have suffered losses to this disease.”
TCPB Chairman Scott Averhoff farms corn in Ellis County, near Waxahachie, and said he has seen a significant reduction with the use of atoxigenics (strains of the fungus that do not produce toxins). The practice has been established from research funded by TCPB.
“I used atoxigenics on all of our farms except one this year,” Averhoff said. “The farms where an atoxigenic material was used were significantly lower in aflatoxin, allowing us to market that corn in a premium market. The untreated farm was severely discounted in the market.”
While aflatoxin is a disease that Texas corn producers face year-after-year in parts of the state due to environmental conditions, continued research progress will help producers reduce aflatoxin levels and diminish financial loss to this disease. Producers are encouraged to adapt the newest control measures, genetic advances, and follow good cultural practices for producing corn in the future.