February 07, 2024

MDA Warns of Elevated Mycotoxin Levels in Missouri

Producers and Feed Manufacturers Should Monitor Mycotoxin Levels in 2023 Corn.


The Missouri Department of Agriculture encourages Missouri feed manufacturers, corn producers and livestock producers to monitor aflatoxin and fumonisin levels in corn harvested in 2023. Mycotoxin levels have increased in Missouri corn due to prolonged drought. Feed contaminated with high aflatoxin and fumonisin levels may impact livestock.

MDA monitors mycotoxin levels through the Bureau of Feed & Seed’s Annual Corn Survey. Each fall, MDA feed inspectors conduct the Corn Survey by collecting corn samples from farms throughout the state during harvest. The Feed Regulatory Program collects at least one corn sample from each corn-producing county. Samples combine corn harvested on multiple farms within each county. The samples are then analyzed for crude protein, moisture, aflatoxin, and fumonisin at the MDA Feed Control Laboratory.

In 2023, 122 corn samples, from 86 corn-producing counties, were collected for the Corn Survey. Sample collection details are documented in the Corn Survey Report.

High fumonisin levels occur when hot, dry weather is followed by periods of high humidity, which many parts of Missouri experienced in 2023. Horses and other equids, as well as rabbits, are most sensitive to fumonisin, though all livestock can experience effects. Animals that consume high levels of fumonisin may demonstrate neurological symptoms such as confusion, circling, incoordination, agitation and facial twitching. Consumption of corn contaminated with fumonisin causes “moldy corn poisoning” or leukoencephalomalacia, which translates to softening of the brain’s white matter.

The 2023 Corn Survey can be viewed at agriculture.mo.gov. Additional information concerning aflatoxin and fumonisin can be found on the FDA website.

If symptoms occur, contact your veterinarian. To have feed tested, contact the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.

To learn more about MDA's Feed & Seed program, visit agriculture.mo.gov.

To learn more about the Department and its programs, visit agriculture.mo.gov