by Skyler Foos, Sustainable Plant Systems major

Growing up on a grain and hog farm in central Ohio I’ve grown up with the mindset of always asking questions. About three to four years ago I remember a lot of local farmers complaining of having issues with a mold in the grain they were selling, and were unable to sell. Well it’s back again. The mold vomitoxin or DON. But this time it wasn’t farmers complaining of being unable to sell there grain, it was coming from hog farmers and their hogs not growing.

Vomitoxin is a type of mycotoxin that can be found in corn and wheat and other grains. These mycotoxins are produced from some molds, such as Fusarium ear rot and other ear rots. It all depends on the weather conditions at the mature phase of the ear. Along with weather some insect can carry molds from ear the ear.

Now you’re thinking how does mold on corn affect me? I don’t eat field corn? Well it does indirectly. Corn is the major food stuff for the diet of hogs. When hogs consume the corn the toxin will accumulate in the meat. Along with the accumulation the mycotoxin causes the hog to not eat as much then leading to a decrease in the hog’s growth and weakened immune system. According to a report by Iowa state hogs will reduce their intake in feed if it contains 1-3 ppm.

According to Iowa State University Extension, to help minimize the vomitoxin, store the grain at 16-17 percent moisture, if the corn is moldy it must be stored at 15 percent. If the field is infected, early harvest will help minimize the accumulation of the mycotoxin while stored aeration will help prevent the spread throughout the bin. Early detection will help the overall process.


My name is Skyler Foos and I am a Senior at The Ohio State University Majoring in agronomy. I currently have an Associate’s degree from Ohio State university ATI in Agronomy. I live on a 900-acre Grain and Hog farm in central Ohio.

More information

Iowa State, Mycotoxin Contamination in Corn  – https://www.ipic.iastate.edu/publications/ipic12.pdf


This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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