Government steps in to help Ontario producers affected by DON

Top Crop Manager
November 28, 2018
By Top Crop Manager
Corn ear moulds which can be observed in Ontario.
Corn ear moulds which can be observed in Ontario. Photo by OMAFRA.
The Ontario and federal government announced steps to help farmers experiencing high levels of deoxynivalenol (DON), including applicable funding to cover a portion of DON-related expenses.

DON impacted Ontario’s corn crop this year due to wet weather and 60 per cent of corn samples tested positive for DON, an increase from previous years. The majority of severe DON damage is being reported in southwestern Ontario, with some producers reporting DON levels of up to 30 parts per million.

The governments will provide special assistance to help farmers experiencing revenue loss because of high levels of DON. While the largest portion of Ontario's corn crop remains unaffected, this support will help ease the impact for affected farmers and assist the entire grain sector in better managing challenges caused by this plant disease in the future.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the governments are:
  • Opening an application process aimed at covering a portion of eligible farmers' expenses from testing for DON levels.
  • Supporting new projects to help address challenges at different points in the grain sector value chain, such as finding ways to best process or market corn impacted by DON.
  • Partnering with the Grain Farmers of Ontario on research and new actions to reduce the frequency and impact of high DON levels, including finding temporary options to store corn to improve grain quality.
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) will implement the new program and more information about the intake for farmers will be available within two weeks on the OSCIA website or by calling OMAFRA at 1-877-424-1300.

The available funding is separate from insurance. Farmers whose crops are significantly impacted by high levels of DON may also be eligible for production insurance coverage through Agricorp.

"The high DON levels in corn that Ontario farmers are facing is very stressful. Unmarketable corn and very significant discounts coupled with difficult harvest conditions are creating a market and harvest like none we have seen before," said Barry Senft, CEO of the Grain Farmers of Ontario.

While the largest portion of Ontario's corn crop remains unaffected, the province continues to monitor the scope of the impact and review possible longer-term implications. It is also providing information on best management practices for farmers concerned about the possible impacts of this plant disease on their operations.


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