Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

East-Central and Southeast Iowa Crop Information


August 15, 2005

August 15, 2005




Aflatoxin and Other Ear Molds


With the hot, dry weather of this summer, there has been considerable discussion about the possibility of aflatoxin in corn this fall.  Hopefully that will not come to pass, but we may want to be keeping it in mind as we approach crop maturity and harvest.  Iowa State University publication Pm-1800 “Aflatoxins in Corn” will answer many of your questions.  In addition, be sure to watch for other ear molds as described on pages 158 – 160 of the October 6, 2003 (Fall 2003 Special Edition Drought Issue) of the ISU Integrated Crop Management Newsletter.


Alfatoxin is created by a yellow-green mold called Aspergillus flavus, which might already be observable in a field or which may become observable any time before harvest.  However, the presence of the mold does not necessarily mean that aflatoxin is present.  In addition, Aspergillus flavus may be working on the inside of the kernels with no outward signs. 


If you are interested in testing grain using one of the commercial test kits described on page 2 of Pm-1800, sources include:




1238 Anthony Road
Burlington, NC 27215

(Tel. 336-226-6311)
(Fax. 336-229-4471)


Intl. Diagnostic System Corp.
Suite 100
2620 South Cleveland Avenue

St. Joseph, MI 49085

(Tel. 616-428-8400)
(Fax. 616-428-0093)

Several kits

Neogen Corporation
620 Lesher Place
Lansing, MI 48912

(Tel. 517-372-9200)
(Tel. 800-234-5333)
(Fax. 517-372-2006)

Several kits

313 Pleasant Street
Watertown, MA 02172
(Tel. 617-926-7045)
(Tel. 800-338-4381)
(Fax. 617-923-8055)



So what can be done to lessen the impact of any possible ear rot/mold infection?  Harvest as early as practical and follow the suggestions on pages 3 – 4 of Pm-1800.  Corn can be harvested with grain moisture as high as 30 % when drying facilities are available.





Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center Field Day – 8:00 a.m., August 17, 2005, Monmouth, IL.


Andrew Jackson Demonstration Farm Field Day – 4:00 p.m., August 17, 2005, Andrew, IA.


Muscatine Island Research and Demonstration Farm (Horticulture) Field Day – 3:00 p.m., September 13, 2005, Fruitland, IA.


Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm (Agronomy) Field Day – 1:30 p.m., September 14, 2005, Crawfordsville, IA.



If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Iowa State University Extension Office.
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Last Update: August 15, 2005
Contact: Virgil Schmitt

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