(Posted Tue. Apr 10th, 2012)
Apr. 10: Last week, the National Corn Growers Association’s Mycotoxin Task Force met in Corpus Christi, Texas to discuss the status of ongoing projects and activities, including the Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence (AMCOE), and to look at potential projects moving forward. The meetings, which included an on-farm demonstration of aflatoxin testing practices, allowed the growers to share insight, hear updates on the status of many projects and gain a first-hand understanding of the unique situation faced by farmers in affected areas.
The on-farm demonstration occurred during a tour of team member Charles Ring’s operation. Ring, who farms in Sinton, Texas, serves as vice chair of the taskforce.
“It was interesting to find out what farmers thought after watching a standard test for mycotoxin,” said Ring. “The group expressed their surprise at the amount of time the test requires, about 15 minutes on average. To those outside of farming, this might not sound burdensome, but, during the busy season, it can add a difficult delay into already rushed schedules. While the test is certainly important, it is vital that we continue research on mycotoxin to improve the ways we both manage and test for it.”
During meetings, the team took a detailed look at the seven projects currently underway through the AMCOE partners of land-grant universities and state grower organizations. Taking a multi-area approach to the problem, the various research projects look at areas and tactics as varied as genetics, cultural practices and biologics seeking answers to address contamination issues in corn production, storage and transporting.
The team also explored the possibility of extending the geographical area in which corn farmers may use AF-36 to reduce field toxins. This biological control, which is already approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use in fighting aflatoxin in corn production in Texas, could become available to aid other growers with similar difficulties.
Finally, the team discussed the implications of possible cuts to the government’s IR-4 program, which they have used to gain funding for various research projects in the past.
For more information on NCGA’s mycotoxin mitigation efforts, click here.