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    Managing Moldy Grain | Winter 2011 Out Here Magazine

    Prevent mold from growing in grain

    Out Here

    Courtesy of Purdue University Extension

     

    Mold can be produced in grain during storage or processing, but it often comes from fungal infections that occurred before harvest. With the widespread concerns about molds and mycotoxins, it’s important for storage and handling facilities to avoid potential carry-over contamination of the current year’s crop.

    PREVENT MOLD

    The best way to avoid mycotoxin contamination is to keep mold from growing in grain.

    • Clean equipment inside and out. Last year’s moldy or insect-infested kernels can promote mold or insects in this year’s grain. Remember to always thoroughly clean grain dryers, bins, trucks, and other grain-handling equipment before harvest.
    • Dry grain thoroughly. Uniformly dry your corn to a safe storage moisture. If mycotoxins are a concern, storage moisture should be 0.5 to 1 percent lower than normal.
    • Remove fine material. Fines interfere with drying and aeration, and often contain higher toxin levels than the grain.
    • Cool stored grain as outside temperatures drop. Fungal activity is greatly reduced between 35 and 40 degrees.

    MONITOR FEED

    While there are recommended thresholds for mycotoxins, they vary greatly by livestock species, gender, age, stage of production, duration of exposure, stress levels, and immune status.

    If mycotoxins are suspected, have the feed tested at an approved laboratory. Livestock producers also need to monitor animal performance.

    Look for these warning signs of mycotoxin problems in livestock:

    1. Reduced feed intake, or feed refusal
    2. Change in fecal consistency
    3. Unthriftiness, lethargy
    4. Increased disease-like symptoms
    5. Failure to conceive or abortion
     

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