Corn growers partner with action team to fight aflatoxin.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) met with the Production Stewardship Action Team (PSAT) to review progress in a program designed to improve soil health and fight aflatoxin.

“What we are really doing is looking for opportunities to meet society’s needs for corn and balance that with our farmers’ desire to do so in a way that is sustainable and better for the environment,” Brent Hostetler, PSAT chairman and a farmer from Plain City, Ohio, said. “This can include dealing with an issue like aflatoxin that hurts crop quality, expanding farmer’s knowledge on ways to improve and protect soil health, or even assuring we have the transportation infrastructure to service global customers.”

A small program that has been performing well is the Soil Health Partnership, comprised of 40 farms that are dedicated to advancing effective practices for soil management. The plan is to expand to 60 farms this year, all of which will demonstrate practices including reduced tillage systems, cover crops and advanced nutrient management.

In addition to the Soil Health Partnership program, the NCGA and PSAT also discussed the Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence, which is comprised of corn checkoff boards from seven southern states. Its main goal is to understand and prevent the fungus which damages corn.

“This cooperative research effort is showing results on several fronts,” Max Starbuck, NCGA director of market development, said. “Aflatoxin resistant seed genetics are entering the market place, biological strategies are promising and education efforts on corn handling, testing and transportation are paying dividends.”

The information learned at the meeting will be presented to the Corn Board and Corn Congress.

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