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Increased Risk for Fusarium Toxins in Latin American Maize | Week 3 Mycotoxin Prediction

The corn growing season in Latin America is in full swing. Several growing regions are about to enter or have already entered silking, which is a critical time for estimating the risk of mycotoxin contamination. The current forecast weather foresees an increased risk for all mycotoxins for the south of Brazil and Argentina.

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

Watch our Prediction Update for week 3 discussing the weather of late December 2021 and early January 2022, as well as the forecast weather for the remaining weeks of January.

Silking of corn is a critical time point for infection with fungal pathogens. Infection during this time largely determines the future risk for mycotoxins in the harvested crop. Silking of corn is expected from January until March in growing regions across Latin America, and so weather—and weather forecasts—can be used to predict future mycotoxin contamination levels. From silking onwards, wet weather and high humidity continue to be risk factors for the accumulation of mycotoxins in the crop.  

Looking back at rainfall in late December, abundant rain hit coastal regions of the Brazilian states of Santa Catarina and Minas Gerais with daily showers. Similar rainfall was recorded for Mato Grosso and the west of Mato Grosso do Sul, while regions in between, including Parana, inland Minas Gerais and Sao Paolo received at least two hours of rain on three to six days of the 15-day period. In contrast, Uruguay and Argentina received little to no rain. 

Early January was characterized by weather extremes with little to no precipitation in the south of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. However, torrential downpours and flooding affected the southeast and northeast of Brazil including Minas Gerais and adjacent regions. 

Weather and mycotoxin forecast

The forecast for late January sees rain returning to most regions with between six and nine days of rain, even in the inland regions that were dry in the previous weeks.  

Based on the weather forecast, the predicted chance for harvests to contain more than two parts per billion aflatoxins are based on the estimated weather within the indicated regions. The highest risk is estimated for states in the northeast of Brazil with 75%. The risk is lower in the cooler and more arid southern regions.  

High concentrations of fumonisins are expected in regions with high humidity combined with warm temperatures. Therefore, considerable risk is to be expected throughout most growing regions, with local risk of 80% 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 growing regions of Argentina and Uruguay and the southeast of Brazil.  

Analogous to deoxynivalenol, zearalenone is produced under cooler conditions. The current risk estimation predicts only a 20% risk of across regions of zearalenone levels above 50 parts per billion, although for some growing areas this percentage may exceed 50%.  

Days with rain events between Jan 1st and 16th.
Days with rain events between Jan 1st and 16th.

Risk above threshold

(2 ppb)

(500 ppb)

(150 ppb)

(50 ppb)

Brazil Northeast





Brazil Southeast






Brazil South





Argentina / Uruguay 





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