Fusarium/Gibberella Identified in Wisconsin Sweet Corn Fields
Joe Lauer and Craig Grau
Recently Fusarium/Gibberella was observed in sweet corn fields in east-central Wisconsin. This fungus can produce mycotoxins which lead to animal performance problems such as feed refusal, vomiting, and estrogen syndrome. According to Gene Smalley, ".. there is lots of Fusarium around in 1995 ..." Some sweet corn fields had 25% of the ears infected. Sweet corn varieties are more susceptible to Fusarium than dent corn hybrids.
A hot and cold temperature cycle favors the development of the mycotoxins, deoxynivalenol and zearalenone, by the fungus. Unfortunately, presence of Fusarium does not always indicate presence of mycotoxin. Thus, threshold levels are difficult to develop for this fungus. Ruminant animals can handle much higher levels of mycotoxin, while swine will express estrogenic problems with contaminated feed of a few parts per million mycotoxin.
Below are some guidelines for handling corn infested with Fusarium/Gibberella:
A number of commercial labs will test for the presence of mycotoxins. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture - Animal Health Laboratory will also test samples (please call Wayne Brown or Anita Kore at 608-266-2465).