With the continuing dry weather, I have had more inquiries about the use of Aflaguard as an aflatoxin preventative.  

Aflatoxin is more likely to develop in fields with a history of the disease where conditions are hot and dry at silking.  

Planting early, good fertility and using Bt hybrids to reduce insect stress on the crop can help reduce the chances for developing the disease. Unfortunately, this year planting early has not guaranteed us good moisture and temperatures are already running high for May so there is real concern among grain producers.

Aflaguard from Syngenta is a biological control for aflatoxin and is the only product on the market offered as a preventative for aflatoxin when used as an over-the-top treatment.  

The product is actually a form of Aspergillis flavus that is benign (doesn’t make aflatoxin) that is applied to the field in a large enough quantity mid-season so that it outcompetes the aflatoxin-producing form of Aspergillis

Key thing to making it work — it must be applied timely to work. Applying too early or very late will make results much more inconsistent and would be a waste of money.

Does it work? Based on 2 years of work at Jackson, Aflaguard reduced the level of aflatoxin in our ear samples when applied to V10-V12 corn. It did NOT always reduce the amount to zero and sometimes the levels in plots treated with Aflaguard were still running above 20 ppb. But, the levels were lower on average than the untreated checks. Just be aware that you may still have some aflatoxin in fields treated with Aflaguard.