Gibberella Ear Rot

In-Depth Downloads

Symptoms of Gibberella Ear Rot

  • Gibberella Ear Rot is most readily identified by the red or pink color of the mold starting at ear tip
  • Mold may be very pale in some cases, causing it to be confused with other ear rots
    • Gibberella almost always begins at the ear tip and progresses from there
    • Fusarium is usually scattered throughout the ear or localized on injured kernels
    • Diplodia usually starts at the base of the ear, is gray rather than pink, and husks may be “bleached”
  • Early, severely infected ears may rot completely, with husks adhering tightly to the ear and the mold growing between the husks and ear
  • Perithecia, or black fungal fruiting structures, may be lightly attached to kernel surface

Facts on Gibberella Ear Rot

gibberella ear rot
  • Caused by the fungus Gibberella zeae
  • Infects other cereals – causes head scab of wheat
  • Overwinters in infected crop residue
  • Spores are spread from crop residue to corn ears by wind and rain splash
  • Infection of corn ears occurs through young silks
  • Infection favored by cool, wet weather during and after pollination (optimum temperature 65 to 70 F)
  • Often a problem in the northern and eastern Corn Belt (both U.S. and Canada)

Disease Cycle

Giberella ear rot disease cycle

Impact on Crop

Damaged corn kernels caused by gibberella ear rot.
  • Fungus consumes grain dry matter
    • Yield is reduced
    • Test weight is lower, which may reduce grain grade and price/bu
  • Fungus lowers grain quality
    • Grain may be downgraded for damaged kernels, reducing price/bu
      • Maximum limits for damaged kernels are 5% for No. 2, 7% for No. 3 and 10% for No. 4 yellow corn
    • Grain storage life may be greatly reduced
    • Grain may be inferior or unsuitable for many feed and food uses and ethanol production if mycotoxins are produced
Mycotoxins May or May Not Occur
  • Deoxynivalenol (DON), also called vomitoxin
    • Causes feed refusal and poor weight gain in livestock, especially swine
  • Zearalenone - Occurs much less frequently than DON
  • Mycotoxin contamination of grain may or may not accompany ear mold symptoms

Management of Gibberella Ear Rot

Hybrid selection

  • Pioneer corn breeders have progressively improved hybrids
    • Selected for genetic tolerance in environments where disease occurs at high levels
    • Selected against husk tightness and ears that remain upright after maturity
    • Selected for hybrids with fast ear drydown
  • Pioneer provides ratings for its hybrids
    • Ratings range from 3 to 6 for most hybrids (9=resistant), indicating that high levels of resistance are not yet available in today’s hybrids
    • If Gibberella ear rot caused significant damage in the past, consider planting only hybrids with at least a moderate rating (5 or higher)

Rotate to a non-host crop and manage crop residue

Scout fields before harvest in order to make informed decisions about harvest timing, postharvest grain handling, storage and utilization

  • Harvest infected fields early to limit disease development
  • Set combine to reduce kernel damage and remove lightest kernels
  • Dry infected grain at high temperature to a moisture of 15% or less
  • Monitor grain in storage to maintain its condition
  • Test grain for presence of mycotoxins and manage accordingly
gibberella ear rot



Close this Tab

Weather Dashboard

See All | Customize

The latest data for your fields at-a-glance.

Today's Forecast
Time Temp Precip Wind
5-Day Forecast
Date Low High
Close this Tab

Markets Dashboard

See All | Customize

The latest data for your fields at-a-glance

Commodity Futures

Quotes delayed 20 minutes.
Commodity Price Change Last Updated
Commodity Futures Feed Not Available
Quotes delayed 20 minutes. Data provided by FutureSource

Local Cash Markets

Commodity Price Basis Last Updated
Local Cash Market Feed Not Available