Farmers also must take care during and after harvest to prevent contamination. “We recommend field segregation during harvest,” Isakeit said. “Don’t mix grain from a good field with grain from an infected one. Also, adjust the combine settings so it knocks out damaged, broken kernels.”

Early harvest and artificial drying reduce infection potential. “We’re just not set up for that in Texas,” he said.

Isakeit said some producers may opt to bale aflatoxin contaminated corn for hay. “That’s risky. Those little ears may contain aflatoxin.”

He added other precautions. “Maintain proper storage conditions after harvest. Put grain into storage at less than 15 percent moisture and keep moisture out.” Blending with clean corn may be an option.

Management is imperative, Ross said. “Aflatoxin is highly toxic and highly regulated as a potential carcinogen. Levels greater than 20 parts per billion can’t be used for human food.”