2020 Q2 Kemin Mold and Mycotoxin Report

For the past 4-5 months, livestock and poultry producers have been feeding corn grown in 2019. While there are areas of the corn growing region where mold and mycotoxins are higher than prior years,1 corn samples submitted to Kemin Customer Laboratory Services (CLS) are arriving with lower levels of mold but similar levels of mycotoxins when compared with 2018 corn.

The U.S. Grains Council published the ninth annual corn quality survey1 and they noted the following for the 2019 corn crop in the USA:

  • Lower test weight of 57.3 pounds per bushel (lb./bu.) (73.8 kilograms per hectoliter (kg/hl)) than 2018 and the 5-year average.
  • Higher average broken corn and foreign material (1.0%) than 2018 and the 5-year average.
  • Higher average total damage (2.7%) than 2018 and the 5-year average.
  • Higher average moisture content (17.5%) and variability than 2018 and the 5-year average.
  • Protein concentration (8.3% dry basis) was lower than 2018 and the 5-year average.
  • Starch concentration (72.3% dry basis) was slightly lower than in 2018 and the 5-year average.
  • Higher percentage of stress cracks (9%) than 2018 and the 5-year average with 10.8% of the samples having more than 20% stress cracks, indicating greater susceptibility to breakage.

Based on these data from the U.S. Grains Council, we are likely to see much more mold and mycotoxin later in the year than we are seeing now. To better help producers understand the current year’s situation, the CLS at Kemin analyzes corn samples for customers. Through these analysis’, 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 144 samples of corn for mold and mycotoxins.

Mold Report Summary

  • 55% of samples contained more than one species of mold.
  • Fusarium spp. mold was found in 92% of the corn samples analyzed for mold identification (n=103).
    • Fusarium mold can produce T-2 toxin, vomitoxin, zearalenone and fumonisin mycotoxins.
  • Penicillium spp. was found in 38% of samples submitted (n=43) and was the second most common mold.
  • Trichoderma spp. was found in 24% of samples (n=27) and was the third most common mold.
  • The average mold count in 2020 is 499,000 colony forming units per gram (CFU/g). In 2019, the average was 706,000 CFU/g and 2018 was 378,000 CFU/g.
    • In 2019-2020, 7% of samples have mold counts more than 1 million CFU/g. This compares to las year (2018-2019) when 17% had more than 1 million CFU/g.
      • Typically, corn with over 1 million CFU/g does not feed well and nutritionists discount nutrient values by 5% when corn is over this level.
    • In 2019-2020, 44% of samples are over 100,000 CFU/g compared with last year when 70% of samples were over 100,000 CFU/g.
      • At a mold count level over 100,000 CFU/g, problems can arise with breeding animals and young stock.
  • The mold count found in the corn samples arriving in our lab has not changed over time. As noted above, as temperatures increase, cracked and poorly dried corn is susceptible to additional mold growth and more mycotoxin formation.

­Figure 1. Colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of mold found on corn samples submitted to Kemin CLS since harvest.

Mycotoxin Report Summary

  • So far in 2019-2020, Kemin CLS has evaluated 142 corn samples for mycotoxins.
    • The mycotoxin levels in the 2019-2020 corn crop are about the same as the prior year with one exception.
    • The level of fumonisin is down significantly. In 2018-2019, 73% of corn sample arriving in the Kemin lab contained detectable levels of fumonisin and in 2019-2020 it is found in 39% of samples. It is still a serious concern for horse and swine producers, but much lower than last year.


Table 1. Percent of corn samples with mycotoxins and levels of those submitted to Kemin CLS since harvest.

Crop Harvest Year









6% (34 ppb)

6% (27 ppb)

2% (28 ppb)


27% (129 ppb)

20% (179 ppb)

25% (166 ppb)

T-2 Toxin

32% (51 ppb)

31% (48 ppb)

55% (49 ppb)


23% (1.13 ppm)

27% (1.44 ppm)

43% (1.31 ppm)


39% (1.86 ppm)

73% (2.65 ppm)

35% (3.47 ppm)

Multiple Toxins




– 9 samples with detectable levels (6%) and an average level of 34 ppb. The samples with detectable levels of aflatoxin all came from the southern USA where drought conditions were common.

Zearalenone – 38 with detectable levels (27%)

  • Average level of 129 ppb. This level is lower than prior years but can still lead to reproductive issues.

T-2 Toxin
– 45 with detectable levels (32%)

  • Average level of 50 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 2019 corn.

DON (Vomitoxin)
– 33 with detectable levels (23%)

  • Average level of 1.13 ppm – feed consumption issues in swine possible.
  • Average level of DON is low when compared with the last two years.

– 56 with detectable levels (39%)

  • Average level of 1.86 ppm. We are seeing much less fumonisin in corn samples this year compared with prior years.

33% of all samples had more than one toxin.

Kemin Recommendations

First, contact your Kemin Animal Nutrition & Health – North America 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. Or simply email KeminAg@kemin.com.

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 products like KALLSIL and FloMatrix® 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 summary storage.



1U.S. Grains Council. “2019/2020 Corn Harvest Quality Report. https://grains.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/USGC-Corn-Harvest-Quality-Report-2019-2020.pdf. Accesses March 20, 2020.
2Data from Kemin CLS corn samples submitted as part of an annual monitoring program.
3Bartov, I., N. Paster, and N. Lisher. 1982. Poultry Science. 61:2247-2254.
4Kao, C., and R. J. Robinson. 1972. J. Food Sci. 37:261.
5www.extension.psu.edu. Accessed on Dec. 28, 2017.

FloMatrix® is a registered trademark of Purina Animal Nutrition, Arden Mills, MN.

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