Wild weather could cause a wide range of crop outcomes in the U.S.

Crop conditions for the U.S. during the month of July “read like an agricultural version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” according to DTN, with weather that is too hot, too wet and occasionally, just right.

According to DTN’s report, in much of the Midwest and the eastern-central Corn Belt, all has been well for crop conditions, with weather that could be described as “ideal.” In the south and west, drought has been the predominant fear of the year, with not nearly enough precipitation since last summer. Northern Midwest regions are still recovering from record-breaking deluges earlier this year.

In early July, warmer-than-normal temperatures persisted in most grain-producing regions of the U.S., hot on the tail of the third-warmest June in the past 124 years. The high temperatures and drought conditions increase the risk of aflatoxin contamination.

Why is this? Aflatoxin is produced by Aspergillus molds, which thrive in drier and warmer environments. Rainfall is a factor in mold development, and the timing of that rain can have a big impact on how mycotoxin-producing molds develop. Other molds that prefer wetter conditions may grow depending especially on the timing of the rainfall. For example, DON contamination is more likely depending on how much rain falls during the flowering and ripening stages of the crop, according to Dr. Max Hawkins.

Neogen updates the grain industry on weather and mycotoxin conditions each week with the Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report web series. Check it out online here, and consider subscribing to get the updates sent to your inbox every Monday.

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