[The Southwest region includes: Texas and Oklahoma]
Southwest ear rot management recommendations are as follows:
- Plant hybrids that are adapted to southwest environmental conditions. This includes drought resistance and adaptation to high temperatures. Also look for hybrids that have a hard endosperm and a tight husk that covers the ear tip.
- Control weeds and utilize reduced tillage methods to conserve ground moisture.
- Application of the non-aflatoxin producing (atoxigenic) strains of Aspergillus flavus (Afla-Guard or AF-36) between V7 and silking can help reduce aflatoxin levels in high-risk areas.
- Fungicides are generally not recommended for ear rot and mycotoxin management.
- Fields at high risk for mycotoxins (e.g. high levels of ear rots) should be harvested early and grain dried to below 15% moisture to prevent additional mold and mycotoxin accumulation.
- Adjust the combine to discard lightweight or damaged kernels which may contain higher levels of mycotoxin.
- Segregate grain harvested from fields with mycotoxin contamination from non- or less- contaminated grain.
- Check storage bins for leaks and periodically inspect them for proper ventilation funciton.
Further management practices specific to this region can be found by reading the Best Management Practices to Prevent or Reduce Mycotoxin Contamination of Corn, or by visiting the following website: Texas A&M University Best Management Practices to Prevent or Reduce Mycotoxin Contamination in Texas.
Texas A&M University also provides specific recommendations for using atoxigenic products such as Afla-Guard or Af-36. This group also provides specific recommendations for baling corn affected by aflatoxin.
The Texas State Chemist website provides information on grain sampling and state-specific blending waivers.