What We Know


A Growing Issue in Ohio

Vomitoxin (VOM) is a growing problem in Ohio and we have heard from every corner of the state how critically a solution is needed. Ohio Corn & Wheat has been working on both the research and regulatory fronts to combat this problem for years. The Ohio Corn Marketing Program (OCMP), your corn checkoff, has funded vomitoxin-related projects since 2017, and just approved a 3-year research project representing the largest research investment in the organization’s history.

The OCMP board of directors — made up of farmers from across Ohio — has been leading the charge on finding a solution. Reducing the economic impact of VOM to corn growers and buyers is our number one research priority.

We will continue to make updates to this page as we learn more. As always, our goal is to provide expertise to our members that will help shape their decision-making process for their operation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on this video to watch Dr. Pierce Paul, Chair of the Plant Pathology Department at Ohio State, and Jason Hartschuh, Field Specialist at Ohio State, talk with Ohio Corn & Wheat Executive Director, Tadd Nicholson, and Marlene Eick, Director of Marketing and Communications.

The group discusses frequently asked questions farmers have for agronomists, what research has been done, and what will be happening in the next several years. This recording will prepare you to have deeper conversations with your agronomist and make management decisions on your farm.

More detailed information on the fungus that produces VOM can be found here.


What You Need to Know

The Ohio Corn Marketing Program Board of Directors has been investing resources into combating VOM for several years. We have worked very closely with Dr. Pierce Paul and Jason Hartschuh of Ohio State, both experts in the field.

Answers provided by Dr. Pierce Paul, Chair of the Department of Plant Pathology at Ohio State, ATI, and Jason Hartschuh, Field Specialist, Dairy Management and Precision Livestock at Ohio State

What is Vomitoxin?
The basics
  1. A mycotoxin secreted by the fusarium graminearum (aka, Gibberella Ear Rot) fungus.
  2. Ideal growing conditions
    • Cool, wet weather during R1 growth stage.
    • VOM lives in organic matter on field and in the stalks.
    • It infects the ear through the silks.
  3. Consequences of VOM
    • Livestock can get sick, refuse the feed, and have decreased growth or milk production.
    • DDGs (dried distiller grains) are a co-product of ethanol production and sold to feed mills as a good source of protein. The distilling process makes the VOM 3x more concentrated in DDGs than the whole kernel.
    • Growers experience docked prices or rejected loads at elevators because infected grain is difficult for them to resell, and storing and blending infected corn creates a slower, labor-intensive process for corn buyers.
How do I avoid Vomitoxin?
It’s tough
  1. Select disease-resistant hybrids.
    • It all starts with the hybrid.
    • Talk to your seed dealer and agronomist to find the right hybrid. Many companies aren’t highlighting VOM resistance yet because it it’s not a wide-spread problem, but they will have a good idea of where to start.
  2. Rotate your crops away from corn and other grassy crops.
    • Use a cover crop outside the graminearum family.
  3. Till any organic matter in infected fields to speed up the decomposition process.
    • Practicing no-till allows the fungus to live on the surface and infect next year’s crop.
  4. Spray fungicides
    • Spraying a fungicide as close to the silks of the ears as possible is the best known method of application.
    • Make sure the product is piercing the canopy and getting down to the ears for maximum effectiveness.
What do I do if I have Vomitoxin?
Mitigate and plan
  1. Set your combine to blow the maximum amount of fines and stalks out of the grain as possible.
    • This leaves the fines in the field, which you’ll have to deal with later, but keeps them out of the bin.
  2. Harvest earlier than ideal.
    • Give the fungus less time to grow and produce more VOM.
    • You’ll have to dry down with more propane, but it limits growth opportunity for fungus in the bin.
  3. Store infected grain cold and dry.
    • Keep bins well-ventilated and isolated.
    • It you can store it at 34ºF you can limit the growth
  4. If you can, blend the corn on-farm before taking it to the elevator.
What is Ohio Corn & Wheat doing about Vomitoxin?
Leaving no stone unturned
  1. Funding the largest research project in Ohio Corn Checkoff history to study mitigation and prevention.
    • VOM risk prediction tool
    • Hybrid resistance evaluation
    • Fungicide application method comparison
    • Cleaning infected corn
    • Communication of what we have learned
  2. Talking to industry partners about getting resistant hybrids into the market.
  3. Evaluating testing procedure for elevators and crop insurance.
  4. Communicating with grain producers about the latest information available.
  5. Talking with elevators and livestock producers.

What to ask your agronomist

You need to ask the right questions.

Consider asking your agronomist these questions to find the right solutions for your farm.

  1. What fungicides have been seen to prevent inoculation?
  2. Are there specific seed hybrids that have shown more resistance?
  3. What cover crop can I plant to prevent the fungus from lasting the winter?


Ohio Corn & Wheat will be publishing more information on this page about Vomitoxin as it becomes available. We want our growers to hear from the researchers about prevention measures and risk assessment. More information will be coming soon.
Feel free to email us with any questions in the meantime.
Thank you to our OCWGA Corporate Sponsors.

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