Elevators Found Vomitoxin in Some Loads of Wheat

Vomitoxin showed up in corn last fall.

Published on: Jul 20, 2010
The buzz when it came to elevating wheat samples at the Franklin County Fair was that the crop was only so-so this year. Partly that was because even the 4-H'ers had heard about dad getting docked for something in the wheat. They may no have know that it was vomitoxin, but they knew it was related to a disease issue.

One farmer at the fair said it showed up in his wheat. What he found interesting was that he pu8lled on the scales and waited for a sample check at one elevator only to find they were going to dock him 30 cents per bushel for vomitoxin. He pulled off the scales without dumping his load, drove down the road to another elevator, pulled on the scales and although they also said they found vomitoxin, they only assessed a 10 cent dock. That's where he dumped his load of wheat.

Those are similar to stories heard last fall with corn. Even after some corn was in the bin, especially in hard-hit areas by corn disease last fall, such as eastern Indiana, farmers reported that there was a wide difference in how elevators docked for vomitoxin. Some wouldn't even accept it. Others assessed varying levels of dock. It wasn't uncommon last fall to hear stories about farmers who drove to three different elevators before they found one that would either accept their load, or not dock heavily for it.

The vomitoxin in wheat was caused by Fusarium head blight, notes Charles Woloshuk, Purdue University Extension plant pathologist. Vomtioxin, also known as DON, is a mycotoxin. Just like with corn infected with mycotoxin last fall, livestock fed feed containing wheat with vomitoxin might refuse to eat it. The result can be poor weight gain.

Hogs are most susceptible, and will often refuse it first. However, cattle and sheep will refuse it if it is especially poor quality. That also became evident when it showed up in corn last fall, and that corn was later turned into feed.

If you still have grain on hand and it may be infected, you may want to keep it separate from good quality wheat, Woloshuk recommends. Just as with corn, the worst kernels and most concentration may end up with the fines in the middle of the grain bin, in the core of the bin. Pulling out the core could be helpful.