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Risk for Fusarium Toxins in Latin-American Maize | Week 48 Mycotoxin Prediction

The corn growing season in Latin America is in full swing, but silking – the critical point for infection with fungal pathogens – is still weeks ahead. A first estimation of the upcoming risks predicts high risks for Fumonisins in particular for growing regions in the southern parts of Brazil and in Argentina.

Follow our predictions on mycotoxin contamination levels in the current maize harvest.

Watch our Prediction Update for week 48 discussing the weather for November, the rain forecast for December and an outlook of potential mycotoxin contaminations in the 2022 harvest.

Planting for the main corn growing season in South America started in October and extended through fall for the south of Brazil and Argentina, while crops in the northeast of Brazil are being planted much later. Sown crops will reach silking between late January and March, with southernmost crops usually being earliest to reach flowering.  

Wet weather and high humidity are critical for infection with toxin-producing fungi during flowering time and continue to be critical for the accumulation of mycotoxins in the crop. With silking still weeks in the future, these predictions rely on long-range weather forecasts. As the growing season continues, weather and mycotoxin forecasts will improve further. 

Looking back at rainfall in the weeks at the end of the planting season, we can see that many regions throughout the continent have accumulated little to no rain in the first two weeks of November. Up to six days with rainfall of at least two hours were recorded in inland Argentina in this period, whereas southern Brazilian states were nearly dry, with few exceptions. More rain, with about five to eight days was recorded for southeastern states.

Late November saw rain returning to the south of Brazil, with three to five days of rain reaching from Uruguay north through Minas Gerais, but only up to two days of rain hit Bahia and the states north of it.  

Weather and mycotoxin forecast

The forecast for the first half of December sees rain intensify in much of the continent. The northeast and southeast of Brazil will see continued rain, less in the south but still significant. The only regions that do not follow the general trend are Rio Grande do Sul and Uruguay which remain mostly dry. 

Based on the still-distant weather forecast, the predicted chance for harvests to contain aflatoxins at more than two parts per billion are given here based on the estimated weather within the indicated regions. The highest risk is estimated for states in the northeast of Brazil with 51%.  

High concentrations of fumonisins are expected in regions with high humidity combined with warm temperatures. Therefore, most growing regions are high-risk , with approximately 80% risk or more. 

Increasing levels of deoxynivalenol also coincide with high humidity but require more moderate temperatures. For now, the estimated risk for harvests containing more than 150 parts per billion is highest in Argentina and Uruguay with about 59% risk.  

Analogous to deoxynivalenol, zearalenone is predominantly produced in cooler conditions. Based on the current weather forecast, risk estimation predicts zearalenone levels above 50 ppb at about 20% across regions, but up to 50% or higher on average for single Brazilian states in the south and in Argentinean provinces. 

LATAM: Days with rain events between Nov 16th and 30th
LATAM: Days with rain events between Nov 16th and 30th

Risk above threshold

Afla 
(2 ppb)

FUM 
(500 ppb)

DON 
(150 ppb)

ZEN 
(50 ppb)

Brazil Northeast

51%

60%

32%

10%

Brazil Southeast

46%

73%

55%

18%

 

Brazil South

17%

79%

42%

14%

Argentina / Uruguay 

9%

80%

59%

19%

Afla - Aflatoxins, FUM - Fumonisins, DON- Deoxynivalenol, ZEN - Zearalenone

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.

How does prediction work?

Mycotoxin prediction models provide forecasts on expected mycotoxin levels in the upcoming harvest. In order to provide accurate predictions, weather conditions during various growing stages need to be considered, and there needs to be an understanding of how these weather conditions impact mycotoxin development in the crop.

more about the BIOMIN Mycotoxin Prediction Tool

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