What is in this article?:
- Reducing aflatoxin levels is research goal
- Further testing
- “Aflatoxin is a group 1 carcinogen, one of a select group of compounds known to cause cancer.”
- Annually, aflatoxin costs U.S. corn producers as much as $200 million.
- Tom Isakeit, Texas AgriLife Extension plant pathologist, is looking for solutions.
Further testing will include application timing.
Isakeit is also looking at transgenic hybrids to evaluate effect on aflatoxin levels. “We sued small plots and inoculated them with aflatoxin,” he said. ‘We saw no benefit with transgenic hybrids for either aflatoxin or fumonisin. We did see some difference between hybrid parents that confirmed earlier work, but we don’t have enough information yet to make a recommendation.
“We did see a benefit from AflaGuard in the test and also a significant reduction in fumonisin. We found no interaction of AflaGuard with transgenic hybrids.”
Isakeit said current recommendations indicate a 13 pound per acre rate. Application is typically made at the V9 to V10 growth stage of corn but Isakeit is looking at earlier application—V5 or V6.
“Earlier application would make it a lot easier for growers. At that stage they could use a ground rig instead of relying on aerial application.”
Improving control of aflatoxin could be a significant advantage to Texas corn producers, said Phil Hamilton, risk management specialist with the USDA risk Management Agency. He said insurance rates, at some point, could come down for corn growers who use the atoxigenic products.
He also said the state’s reputation as a reliable corn supplier also would get a boost from consistently lower aflatoxin levels.