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Michigan Corn Crop Faces VOM Challenge

Michigan Corn Crop Faces VOM Challenge

By Andi Anderson

Michigan's corn growers are facing a late-season challenge in the form of high vomitoxin (VOM) levels caused by outbreaks of Gibberella ear rot (GER). The wet weather conditions experienced in 2023 have created a favorable environment for the development of GER, leading to some of the highest VOM levels ever recorded in the state.

VOM levels are particularly concerning in the southern part of Michigan, where some samples have tested as high as 35 ppm. The Thumb region is also seeing elevated VOM levels, with an average of 4.5 ppm.

Corn testing over 5 ppm for VOM will be subject to discounts, with discounts increasing as VOM levels rise. Producers with high VOM levels are encouraged to contact their crop insurance agent to initiate the claims process.

High VOM levels pose a significant threat to both the livestock and ethanol industries. Feed made from heavily contaminated grain can lead to vomiting and reduced weight gain in animals, and VOM remains undestroyed during ethanol production.

To mitigate the risks associated with high VOM levels, producers are advised to take the following steps:

  • Harvest corn affected by GER as soon as possible and handle it separately from healthy fields.
  • Adjust combine settings to minimize grain damage and increase fan speed to remove fines and dust particles.
  • Conduct on-farm testing and storage to identify and segregate corn based on VOM levels.
  • Dry corn down to 15% moisture or below.

While high VOM levels pose a challenge for Michigan's corn growers, implementing these measures can help to protect crops and livelihoods. By taking proactive steps, producers can navigate this challenge and ensure the success of their corn production.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-dmytro-diedov

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Categories: Michigan, Crops, Corn

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