Are Mycotoxins the New Gluten?

corn mycotoxinsI came across this article, “Are Mycotoxins The New Gluten?” February 24, 2015

It is a very interesting article. There are a number of good points in the article.

Currently, the FDA does not impose any limits on Mycotoxin.

Ochratoxin A, like most mycotoxins, it remains stable at normal food processing temperatures of 176 – 248 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that OCA doesn’t simply cook off like the mold it rode in on.

As we head into the fall, there are reports that we could see a lot of moisture this fall and cooler temperatures. These are prime conditions for mycotoxin growth. At Midwest Laboratories, we continue to work at providing mycotoxin analysis:

Aflatoxin (B1, B2, G1, G2)  $ 75.00 |  DON (Vomitoxin    $ 75.00 |  Fumonisin(B1, B2, B3)   $ 75.00 | Orchratoxin A  $ 75.00 |  T2 Toxin Standard $ 75.00 | Zearalenone Standard $ 75.00
Full Screen Standard –  $260.00

Stay tuned for more on this story as we head into the fall.

Picture Source: Pixabay

The Value of Cornstalk Nitrate Test


Stalk Nitrate Test – What does the analysis really say?

I came across the following statement in this article, “Cornstalk nitrate test reveals nitrogen application accuracy” by Susan Winser, October 31, 2014

Each test has its role: The cornstalk nitrate test is a snapshot of how close you came to applying the most cost-effective N rate, and no more.

I think this statement shows the value of this analysis. As the article states, nitrogen application is a guessing game and the weather is a huge factor in determining if a grower has applied the appropriate amount of fertilizer. This summer has been an unusually cool and wet one. It would really be interesting as a grower to see how these conditions affect the amount of N in the corn stalk.

Consider running this test this fall. Check out past articles this month,

Check out the article by Susan Wisner and see how some growers are using the results of their stalk nitrate test.

photo credit: IMG_2754 via photopin (license)


Harvesting Corn Residue

Harvesting Corn ResidueCorn growers harvest a crop, but what do they do with the residue left behind? There are techniques to harvest the corn residue and the following video report talks about these techniques.

Today, the buzz is all about cover crops, but corn growers also have options with their current corn cover.

Grazing is one option – Cattle can eat the husk and leaf which are most digestable and leave the rest of the plant for cover in the winter.

Some other technologies involve going through the field with a bailer-type technology which removes the husk and leaf for bailing.

Learn more in the following video.

Picture Source: Pixabay

How Safe Is Our Beef?

how safe is beefSustainable Beef versus Conventional Beef Study

According to this Consumer Reports Study, sustainable had less bacteria content than conventional. The point here is that all beef has bacteria and needs to not be eaten raw but cooked thoroughly at 160 degrees fahrenheit. Watch this interview and learn more about the study.

Also, checkout the response from the National Cattleman’s Beef Association on this study.

“As an industry, our number one priority is producing the safest beef possible. Ground beef is the safest it has ever been with greater than 90 percent reductions in bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7 and significant reductions in salmonella in recent years. The beef community continues to invest millions of dollars in developing new safety technologies with the goal of eliminating foodborne illness.”

Carr-Johnson says the only helpful takeaway from the report for consumers is that all ground beef should be cooked to and internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and confirmed with an instant-read meat thermometer, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Source:

Know the facts and make sure you cook your beef to insure that you kill any trace of bacteria in your beef.

If you have a mobile device, use this link to access the CBS News Story.


Collecting a Stalk Nitrate Sample

Collecting a Corn Stalk Nitrate SampleCheck out this video and learn how to take a stalk nitrate sample from the field. This video does a great job of explaining the process.

I would also add that this test works best when samples are collected and sent within a 24-hour period.

Check out this page for more information regarding stalk nitrate testing at Midwest Laboratories.

photo credit: DSC05013 Gibberella zea corn ear stalk rot via photopin (license)

Time may be right to overseed your lawn

Overseeding LawnThis summer has been an unusual one on a number of fronts.

I have fertilized twice this summer, (July  and August)  and have constantly battled weeds. Through it all the grass has remained very green and has required very little watering because of the frequent rains. Also, future forecasts for September show September to be a very wet and cool month. Now might be the best time to get your seed applied so it can flourish with the additional fall moisture headed our way.

With this week’s cooler than normal temperatures, (Highs in 70’s and Lows in the 50’s) I thought it would be a good  time to overseed the lawn. This summer where I saw the most weeds were typically those areas that were the thinnest.  These areas, (grass between sidewalk and the street) and around the border of the house are the areas I am going to be watching over the next 7-10 days.

Fall seeding has produced great results for me. Typically, I wait till the first part of September, but I thought the cooler temperatures this week were ideal for this process. When buying seed, take the time and buy a proven product. One year I purchased some very cheap seed and my grass looked more like crabgrass. It had a mixture of seed that I was not familiar with and as a result my yard stood out from my neighbors. It took about three additional years of seeding to bring the lawn back to normal.

Finally, make sure you water in your seed. You want to get it into the ground as soon as you can so it can take root.

Picture Source: Pixabay