Del Voight – Penn State Extension
Two Items to be reviewing as the corn season progresses. Ears are rapidly forming and growers are applying fungicides presently to fields that the hybrid may be susceptible to leaf diseases.. Knowing the characteristics of the molds are helpful in management. Also many fields of corn were planted late and are showing some leaf diseases. This is important also in determine early harvest prior to complete infection of the plants.
Here are some pictures of ear molds and a description of their mycotoxin potential as well as some management ideas. As in other cases just because there is the mold does not mean that a mycotoxin will result. There is still a lot that needs to be learned regarding these molds and there relationship to the toxin formation. Both fusariums can be an issue and have been researched the most intensively mainly in the silage portion for dairy. As you get out on farms in the coming weeks it might be wise to have this or some other reference in your truck to use as a discussion. Also keep an eye on the nitrate situation(silage after rains return) and stalk lodging due to stalk rot. Many times with a drought the plant robs leaves, stalk and roots to feed the ear and during this time stalk rots invade since the plant is weakened. A squeeze test of the lower stalk can reveal the management of the field for early harvest.
I have viewed mostly corn smut. at differing stages of development. This is not a fungus that can cause any harm to livestock contrary many folks will consume it as a delicacy.