Ethanol plants and elevators in the eastern U. S. Midwest have ramped up efforts to test incoming corn for vomitoxin, industry officials said last week.
“(Ethanol) plants are testing every load of inbound corn for vomitoxin specifically,” particularly in areas where mould problems have been identified, said Geoff Cooper of the Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol trade group.
So far vomitoxin has been most prevalent in Indiana and parts of Ohio, but some grain elevators in Illinois have been testing for it as well.
Vomitoxin in feed rations can sicken animals. The issue is a problem for ethanol plants because they sell dried distillers grains (DDGs) as a feed ingredient. The distilling process concentrates the vomitoxin in DDGs to roughly three times the level in raw corn.
Some hog producers have already begun shunning DDGs as a feed ingredient, analysts said. “We’ve heard from multiple hog producers in eastern Indiana,” said Chris Hurt, an economist with Purdue University. “They were calling us at Purdue and saying, ‘What’s going on, my hogs won’t eat the new-crop corn. What can we do?’”