Gibberella Ear Rot

Encyclopedia Article

Description and Symptoms 

Gibberella ear rot is a consistently important mycotoxigenic fungus in the northern corn belt, producing vomitoxin, zearalenone, and other toxins. Gibberella ear rot can be identified most readily by the red or pink color of the mold. It almost always begins at the tip of the ear. Excessive mold may cause silks and husks to adhere to the ear. In severe cases, the pink mold is visible on the outside of the husks at the ear tip.

This fungus overwinters in corn residue. Spores are spread by splashing rain and wind, infecting ears through the silks. Silks are most susceptible two to six days after emergence. This ear rot is common, particularly when conditions are cool and wet during grain fill.  


  • Scout R5 to R6 (R3 to R6 for Diplodia).
  • Check at least 100 ears selected from throughout the field.
  • If more than 10 percent of plants have an ear rot, harvest the field early.
  • Dry and cool harvested corn quickly.
  • Test moldy grain for mycotoxins before feeding to livestock


See management options for Fusarium ear and kernel rot.  

Photo by Alison Robertson 

Related Articles:

Fusarium Ear Rot and Kernel Rot