2020 Q1 Kemin Mold and Mycotoxin Report

As producers work to maximize the efficiency of their livestock and poultry operations, the performance robbing impact of mold and mycotoxins are under increasing focus. Mold and mycotoxins are ubiquitous – but some years the problem is more pronounced than in others. The growing conditions during a specific year can dramatically impact the mold and mycotoxin levels in grain. The 2019 growing season was one of extreme moisture in the north and drought in the south.

To better help producers understand the current year’s situation, the Kemin Customer Laboratory Services (CLS) team analyzes corn samples for customers. Through these analyses, valuable information is gained which can help livestock and poultry producers make better management decisions to ensure they are providing high quality and clean feed for their animals.

In 2019-2020 Kemin CLS has analyzed 123 samples of corn for mold and mycotoxins.

Mold Report Summary

  • 53% of samples contained more than one species of mold.
  • 90% of the corn samples analyzed for mold identification (n=85) contained Fusarium spp. mold.
    • Fusarium mold can produce T-2 toxin, vomitoxin, zearalenone and fumonisin mycotoxins.
  • Penicillium spp. (33%) was the second most common mold, and Trichoderma spp. (28%) was third most common.
  • Compared with prior years, the level of mold found in this crop is about the same as last year.
    • In 2018/19, a greater percentage of samples arrived more than 100,000 CFU/g (65%) versus this year (50%).
  • The average mold count is greater in 2019/20 versus prior years.
  • Of these samples, 7% (7 samples) had more than 1,000,000 CFU/g.
    • Typically, producers find that corn over this level does not feed well and they discount values by 5%. This is an increase from samples submitted last year.
  • 50% of all samples (61 samples) were over 100,000 CFU/g.
    • At this level, problems can arise with breeding animals and young stock.
  • The trend has been upward - the longer this corn is stored, the more mold our customers might find in the crop.

Figure 1. Colony forming units (CFU) of mold found on corn samples submitted to Kemin CLS.

Mycotoxin Report Summary

As with the mold data, the mycotoxin levels in the 2019 corn crop are about the same as the 2018 crop, however, not all mycotoxins are found at the same level or frequency.

Aflatoxin – relatively clean, 8 with detectable levels (8%). However, the samples with aflatoxin all came from the southern USA where drought conditions were common.

Zearalenone – 27 with detectable levels (22%)

  • Average level of 131 ppb. This level is lower than prior years, but as we get more northern corn samples, this mycotoxin is found at higher levels in more samples.

T-2 Toxin – 40 with detectable levels (33%)

  • Average level of 52 ppb – mouth lesions have been reported in birds at 100 ppb.
  • The percentage of samples arriving with T-2 toxins is about the same as last year, but the level of T-2 toxin in the samples is higher than what was found in 2018 corn.

DON (Vomitoxin) – 25 with detectable levels (20%)

  • Average level of 1.22 ppm – feed consumption issues in swine possible.
  • Average level is down over the last two years; however, the percentage of samples with DON is higher than those samples with DON in 2018.

Fumonisin – 53 with detectable levels (43%)

  • Average level of 1.84 ppm. This toxin is a huge issue in Southern States.


In summary, 32% of all samples had more than one toxin.

Kemin Recommendations

First, contact your Kemin representative for more information on implementing a comprehensive mold and mycotoxin control program. Your Kemin representative has information and expertise which will increase the effectiveness of your program.

Second, complete the following:

  • Test all incoming grain. Samples submitted to Kemin CLS are showing high levels of fusarium mold - which is consistent with a wet growing season.
  • Check new corn silage for mold and mycotoxins. If these problems are found in the grain, we will see them in the corn silage as well.
  • Treat grain with Myco CURB® Liquid or Myco CURB® Dry to prevent further mold growth.
  • Use Ultra CURB® Liquid or Ultra CURB® Dry in all dairy TMR's to control both mold and wild yeast.
  • Use anti-caking products like KALLSIL™ in all rations. Mycotoxins impact animal performance - even at low levels.
  • This corn crop will not improve – continue to monitor the condition of grain during summer storage.



1Data from Kemin CLS corn samples submitted as part of an annual monitoring program.
2Bartov, I., N. Paster, and N. Lisher. 1982. The nutritional value of moldy grains for broiler chicks. Poultry Science. 61:2247-2254.
3Kao, C., and R. J. Robinson. 1972. Aspergillus flavus deterioriation of grain: it’s effect on amino acids and vitamins in whole wheat. J. Food Sci. 37:261.
4https://extension.psu.edu/mold-and-mycotoxin-problems-in-livestock-feeding. Accessed on Dec. 28, 2017.

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