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Check stored corn for moldy kernels

Ohio farmers are encouraged to diligently monitor their stored corn grain to prevent mold development.

Keeping an eye on stored grain in bins early in the season can help producers avoid problems that too often go unnoticed or are discovered too late in the game to really do anything about.

“Even in years when there is little or no ear rot problems in the fields [a leading cause of mold development], mold may still develop in the grain bins if storage temperature and moisture conditions are favorable,” says Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist.

There have been some reports of field-dried corn producing molds in storage. Moldy kernels may contain toxins harmful to livestock.

“Corn is drier than average, and much drier than last year coming out of the field. However, concerns are that 15% corn or higher put into the bins is producing mold on stored kernels,” says Paul.

Growers should check grain every few weeks. Paul offers the following additional guidelines for grain storage:

• Harvest at the correct moisture, and minimize damage to kernels.

• Dry and store harvested grain to below 15% moisture to minimize mold development and toxin contamination.

• Store dried grain at cool temps (36 to 44 degrees F) in clean, dry bins.

• Periodically check grain for mold, insects and temperature.

• If mold is found, send a grain sample for identification and analysis.

• Clean bins and storage units between grain lots.

This article published in the November, 2010 edition of OHIO FARMER.

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