All corn ear molds are not created equal. Some produce dangerous mycotoxins; others don't. Growers should identify and manage ear molds before harvest.
The presence of visible molds is only an indicator. Growers must identify and quantify ear molds to determine potential negative impacts. Here are some tips:
Once a mycotoxin threat is detected, you need to consider harvesting and storage strategies.
A good practice is to harvest and dry moldy grain in a "continuous-flow" dryer to a moisture level of 14 percent. Cool the grain to ambient air temperature as quickly as possible.
The cool-down process should begin as soon as grain goes into storage. Ultimately, the grain should cool to 30 to 35 degrees for safe storage.
Once cooled down in storage, monitor grain regularly - at least weekly until it's sold or used.
A crop containing mycotoxins may be fine for some markets; however, you must be careful about selling it to someone who'll use it as livestock feed. In many cases, contaminated grain can be mixed with "clean" grain to bring mycotoxin concentrations down to safe levels. Check with local university extension sources for thresholds on feeding various species.