In an age where smart phones, computers and other technology used every day gets upgraded to “bigger and better” on seemingly a yearly – if not daily – basis, advancements in the farmer’s toolbox are few and farther between. However, thanks to the dedication of board members and researchers through Texas Corn Producers Board (TCPB) funding, access to a “next generation” atoxigenic in corn will soon be available.
On September 21, TCPB received notice that FourSureTM is now registered for use on corn in Texas through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This tool contains four strains of Aspergillus flavus (A. flavus), whereas comparable products currently on the market contain one strain. FourSure’s multi-pronged approach to prevent aflatoxin development has the potential to secure corn farmers’ investment in their crop – preventing considerable loss due to aflatoxin contamination.
TCPB began dedicating checkoff funds to research seeking to identify strains of A. flavus naturally occurring in Texas corn crops in 2010. Taking in more than 800 samples, subsequent years’ of research aimed to identify beneficial strains capable of mitigating aflatoxin. Research found four strong Texas-based strains, which led to TCPB’s FourSure.
An Experimental Use Permit (EUP) from the EPA was obtained In August of 2016, for the 2017-2019 growing seasons. Through this permit, TCPB worked in cooperation with farmer cooperators and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to collect data through field trials. FourSure was tested on approximately 3,000 acres from the Lower Rio Grande Valley to the Red River before receiving its EPA Section 3 registration.
“FourSure is a premier example of the checkoff positively at work,” TCPB Executive Director David Gibson said. “Farmers know the problems facing their operations and have the vision to find solutions. Having the ability to make investments in major innovations such as FourSure highlight the value of farmer-led checkoff endeavors.”
FourSure’s development was made possible through TCPB-funded efforts to complete the trials and collect data, as well as that of ARS who played a crucial role compiling supporting data for the EPA application process. Scott and Arleen Averhoff with Double CT LLC greatly aided the effort by providing storage and distribution of FourSure during the field trials.
Details on FourSure’s availability for the 2024 growing season will be announced later this year. Find out more about the latest in TCPB’s research efforts such as FourSure online, as well as its education, promotion, and advocacy initiatives at www.TexasCorn.org.