Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Storing Diplodia Ear Rot-Affected Corn

Paul Vincelli, Plant Pathology

Diplodia ear rot (DER) is being reported rather widely this year. Questions have arisen about storage of DER-affected corn. The fungus that causes DER won’t develop further if moisture content is below the normal target of 15.5%. However, rotted kernels are damaged kernels, and since the grain integrity is compromised, other fungi more tolerant of low moisture will have an easier time growing. Our agricultural engineers recommend drying damaged corn an extra 0.5 to 1.0 point of moisture for better storability and cooling it as quickly as possible. Producers should make sure to keep that grain well aerated and dry, and market it sooner rather than later.

Fortunately, there are no known mycotoxins produced by the strains of the DER fungus found in North America. In addition to several recent Kentucky Pest News articles on this subject, more information on this disease is available in a UK Extension publication available at http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ppa/ppa43/ppa43.pdf.

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