STORAGE TIPS FOR MOULDY CORN!
1. Harvest infected fields early, and dry corn as soon as possible after harvesting. Do not store wet grain overnight in trucks, wagons, or bins.
2. Dry corn using high-temperature drying, to 15% moisture or less. This stops mould growth and mycotoxin production, but does not reduce mycotoxins already present. Low-temperature drying takes much longer, and provides opportunity for moulds to continue to grow in the wet corn.
3. Cool corn to 10°C or less immediately after drying, and before placing grain into storage. This slows growth of fungi and inhibits insect activity.
4. Clean grain before storage using rotary type screen cleaners or gravity-based cleaners. Mycotoxins are more prevalent in broken/damaged kernels and fines. Cleaning has been shown to have the most significant impact on grain samples with low to moderate mycotoxin levels.
5. If possible, store corn with higher DON content in a separate bin from clean, low-DON corn.
6. Core storage bins after filling by removing corn via the centre unload auger, until an inverted cone approximately 1/4 to 1/3 diameter of the bin is visible at the top. Fines often contain higher mycotoxin concentrations, and tend to gather in the centre as a bin is filled. Removing the central core of grain removes a higher portion of fines, reducing potential mycotoxin levels.
7. Mould inhibitors can be added to stored grain can reduce incidents of mould growth, but will not remove mycotoxins already present. Do not apply fungicides to stored grain; there are no products listed for this use.
8. Aerate bins frequently to keep grain cool and dry. Maintain moisture levels below 15% by aerating when outdoor relative humidity is 65%-70% or less. Maintain grain temperatures between 2-5°C if possible, and always below 10°C, by aerating during cool weather.
9. Monitor stored grain frequently; at least once every 2 weeks during cold weather (below 10°C) and at least weekly during warm weather (above 10°C). Run fans and smell for foul odours. Visually check for signs of mould. Use a temperature probe to detect warm spots. Consider installing temperature & moisture cables to monitor conditions throughout the bin.
10. Handle corn as little as possible to prevent additional damage. Damaged and broken kernels are more susceptible to mould infection.
11. Do not store corn with high DON content long term. Plan to sell corn by March if possible. If you plan to store corn into next summer, dry grain to less than 14 percent or less moisture.
For more information, click on the Crop Protection Network article “Storing Mycotoxin Affected Corn” as well as visit the Crop Protection Network Website for further field crop related crop protection issues information.