Managing rotten corn: An overview of corn ear rots
Ear rots of corn can reduce yield and grain quality. Several economically important ear rots impact the Corn Belt, including Diplodia ear rot, Gibberella ear rot, Fusarium ear rot, and Aspergillus ear rot. A different fungus causes each of these rots, and the environmental conditions at and just after silking influence which ear rot may be problematic in a given year. Additionally, some of these fungi are able to produce mycotoxins as a byproduct of the infection process. Mycotoxins can be toxic to humans and livestock, and are carefully regulated in food and feed. Proper identification of ear rots is key for managing affected grain.