Preventing ochratoxin A development in stored grain

Once harvest is in the bin, there’s not much you can do to improve what you have, but there are plenty of things lurking that could downgrade the crop.

RealAgriculture resident Peter Johnson says that storage molds need some attention, as they can cause some major issues when they do pop up.

“One of the things that is worrisome is just the development of molds in storage, and ochratoxin A is one of those new items in the thought process…that’s one we haven’t talked about a lot in the past,” Johnson says, in this excerpt from Tuesday’s RealAg Radio. “It rarely pops up but every once in a while it does.”

If grain goes in to the bin tough, there’s a much higher risk of storage molds developing. They can develop very quickly, and some are worse than others.  Ochratoxin A is one of those that is rather nasty. It’s a fungus that creates the mycotoxin, and, if ingested can cause kidney damage in people and animals.

“It’s been found in many different crops…certainly wheat, corn, any of the cereal crops, and pretty rare that we find it in soybeans, but I would never say never just because it has a wide enough host range that I think you have to watch out for it,” he says.

Farmers should have a plan to monitor grain in the bin, and that could mean investing in some equipment (there are some great sensors on the market), but a grain probe and manual monitoring can certainly do the trick, if you’re diligent. Keep the air on, if you’re concerned.

“Just keep paying attention as much as you can to try and sort out what’s going on,” Johnson says. Watch for temperature spikes, moisture migration and use your nose, too.

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