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Mycotoxin Prediction for Corn and Wheat in Europe: 2020 Harvest | Week 39 Update

Results of statistical analysis reveal that many parts of Europe can expect potentially harmful levels of mycotoxin contamination in the upcoming 2020 corn (maize) and wheat harvest.

Follow our predictions on mycotoxin contamination levels in the upcoming European wheat and corn harvest.

Mycotoxin Prediction for Corn and Wheat in Europe

Dr Timothy Jenkins, Head of BIOMIN Digital Lab, shares the mycotoxin occurrence prediction for corn and wheat in Europe.
(Captions are available in most languages by clicking on Settings/Subtitles/Auto Translate and selecting the language.)

Above the risk thresholds

The percentage risks in the table are the likelihood that a crop in that region will be above the risk thresholds measured in parts per billion (ppb) for fumonisins (FUM), aflatoxins (Afla), deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN). The regions are quite large and it is important to note that risk levels could vary widely within each region. More regional details are contained in the regular video updates.

The percent chance of fumonisins (FUM), aflatoxins (Afla), deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN) exceeding certain concentration levels in European corn and wheat harvests.
Figure 1. The percent chance of fumonisins (FUM), aflatoxins (Afla), deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN) exceeding certain concentration levels in European corn and wheat harvests.
Source: BIOMIN

Weather Trends

July was the main month for corn silking or flowering for most of Europe. Silking occurred in early August in scattered parts of coastal Northern Europe including Southern England and in some late crops in Northern Spain. Rain during corn silking increases the establishment of mycotoxin-causing diseases in the corn cob.

Rain later in the season also contributes to mycotoxins by allowing the infection of damaged grains with mycotoxin-producing fungi as well as keeping grain conditions moist for longer, allowing already established infections to grow and produce more mycotoxins.

Central European Corn 

The highest risk for corn in Central Europe is DON (at 90%) with a reasonably high predicted risk also for ZEN at 53%. The risk of Afla is mainly seen in parts of Romania and Hungary, both countries are included here in Central Europe. The heatwave conditions in some areas have increased the mycotoxin risk this year.

Eastern European Corn 

In Eastern Europe, DON is again the greatest risk in corn at 92% with a generally lower risk of ZEN than in Central Europe. Rain days were more common in early July than in early August, with late July having an intermediate number of rain days. This meant that earlier crops generally had the higher risk, though in some northern areas, rain days were more common in late July coinciding with what is usually the main period of silking. The warm conditions advanced crop development in many areas and so silking may have been somewhat earlier than normal. The higher temperatures have increased the risk of most mycotoxins compared to normal, particularly in the case of fumonisins.

Northern European Corn 

For Northern Europe, mycotoxin levels in corn are characteristically lower but there is still a reasonable chance of DON being above the risk threshold. There is also some risk of the associated ZEN. A slightly drier than normal early July and dry late July in some areas reduced the risk for DON and ZEN somewhat for earlier silking crops, but the FUM risk has increased with warmer than normal temperatures this summer. Since crops were often silking in Early August for England and some northern coastal areas of continental Europe, the moderate rainfall increased the risk somewhat and the later silking crops would be even more affected by the comparatively wet late August. Harvest is still to come in many areas with late September being quite wet, likely leading to some delays in harvest and therefore more potential for fungi to grow in the moist kernels and produce more mycotoxins.

Southern European Corn 

DON is also the highest risk in Southern Europe, but FUM and Afla are higher risk compared to other regions. In some years, hot and dry conditions may increase the risk of Afla further in this area, and the warmer late August and early September conditions in much of this region have elevated the Afla prediction somewhat. Dry early September conditions would have been good for grain maturation in much of Spain but the wetter late September may have impacted some later crops in the north of Spain and Portugal (increasing the risk of DON, ZEN and FUM in particular). Italy had a similar September rainfall pattern with late September bringing or forecast to bring more rain to the Western and middle parts of Italy as well as the Western Balkans and Western Greece.


Winter wheat anthesis is over and harvest is progressing in many areas of Europe. Much of the mycotoxin risk is related to the presence of wet conditions during anthesis, but there is also an important role of temperature (warmth encourages infection and growth of the fungus as well as the production of DON) and of rainfall towards harvest. Of particular concern for late August rainfall then are Ireland, parts of the UK and around the Netherlands.

The less common summer wheat crops will be at somewhat lower risk than winter wheat this year because of the drier conditions forecast during summer wheat anthesis, although there are now some concerns for the areas that received rainfall in late July onwards.

The highest DON risk is still predicted in Northern Europe. ZEN, although a somewhat lower risk than in corn, is still a risk in all regions with the highest risk predicted for Eastern and Northern Europe.

As mycotoxin predictions are based on statistical methods, BIOMIN neither gives any warranties with regard to the content, nor accepts any liabilities in connection with the predictions or its consequences, if any.

Consider mycotoxin risk in advance

Mycotoxin contamination threatens the quality of your feed, the health of your animals and your profitability.  

The Mycotoxin Prediction Tool uses sophisticated algorithms that draw upon 15 factors and the extensive proprietary data set compiled through the BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey, the longest running and most comprehensive survey of mycotoxin occurrence in animal feed worldwide. 

The Mycotoxin Prediction Tool helps keep you naturally ahead in managing the risk of mycotoxins.  

How does prediction work?

The tool analyses data from a range of inputs to calculate a predicted mycotoxin contamination level for the next harvest. 

BIOMIN Mycotoxin Prediction Tool: How does prediction work