Just because the elevator will not take corn with aflatoxin because of the liability for someone’s livestock to be sickened or killed, does not mean you can blend it for your own feeding purposes. The veterinarians at Iowa State University provide guidance on what level of aflatoxin is federally approved for feed or processing use, which turns out to be very small amounts. They say, “Low levels of aflatoxin in feeds - sometimes less than 1 part per million (ppm) – can cause poor growth, interfere with the immune system and result in liver damage and bleeding. High dosages cause acute loss of appetite, depression, hemorrhage, diarrhea and death.” For corn being fed to swine, beef cattle, and dairy cattle, the amounts of allowable aflatoxin levels are measured in a few parts per billion.
The use of aflatoxin-infected corn for ethanol is also a problem because it infects the germ, and stays in the corn gluten or distillers dried grain, and is not destroyed in the starch refining and fermentation process.
*According to the Prairie Home Companion, “Nothing gets the taste of fear and humiliation out of your mouth like a slice of rhubarb pie.”
Although there may not be any confirmed reports, farmers should be on the lookout for ear molds in corn that produce mycotoxins such as aflatoxin. Environmental conditions have been conducive for aflatoxin development which could severely damage the value of any corn that is infected with it. Tests should be conducted if molds are suspected, and crop insurance agents alerted. Aflatoxin is covered by crop insurance, but only if the crop is still in the field. Disposal of the corn may be a problem because its level of contamination may be above what can be fed to livestock and used for ethanol production.
Source: Stu Ellis, FarmGate Blog