Mold can be produced in grain during storage or processing, but they often come from fungal infections that
occurred before harvest. With the widespread concerns about molds and mycotoxins, it’s important for storage and handling facilities to avoid potential carry-over contamination.
How to Prevent Mold
The best way to avoid mycotoxin contamination is to keep mold from growing in grain.
• Clean equipment inside and out. Last year’s moldy or insect-infested kernels can promote mold or insects in
this year’s grain. Remember to always thoroughly clean grain dryers, bins, trucks, and other grain-handling
equipment before harvest.
• Dry grain thoroughly. Uniformly dry your corn to a safe storage moisture. If mycotoxins are a concern, storage moisture should be 0.5 to 1 percent lower than normal.
• Remove fine material. Fines interfere with drying and aeration, and often contain higher toxin levels than the
• Cool stored grain as outside temperatures drop. Fungal activity is greatly reduced between 35° and 40°F.
Managing Moldy Grain
Protect Yourself: Take precautions when handling grain, especially grain that may be infected with mold.
• Wear a respirator capable of filtering fine dust particles. Even a little spoiled grain can produce millions
of spores that can irritate lungs and cause severe reactions that require hospitalization. Respirators are
important for all personnel including truckers, scale operators, and those supervising elevator dumping operations.
• Change your clothes after handling grain. Don’t expose others, including your family, to spores that can stick to clothing. Consider using disposable overalls when handling moldy corn to minimize exposure.
• See a doctor if you get sick after handling grain and make your physician aware of your activities.
• Handle out-of-condition grain carefully. Be alert for blocked flow, cavities, crusting, and grain avalanches. Out-of-condition corn is the leading cause of suffocation in grain bins