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Ontario Corn Committee releases DON initiatives

The Gibberella ear rot outbreak, resulting in high levels of DON in corn this year, has caused much concern to Ontario producers. At its annual meeting on Nov. 13, the Ontario Corn Committee (OCC) spent much time discussing how best to respond to the outbreak, and said in a statement it was "deeply concerned about the impact this is having across all sectors of the corn industry in Ontario, especially for the many farmers who are most directly affected."

The OCC says it does not have data indicating the relative susceptibility of hybrids to infection by Gibberella and the production of DON. However, the committee is undertaking two initiatives that it hopes will allow the committee to give more guidance to farmers in the future.

1) Samples were collected from each plot in several OCC trials across southwestern Ontario during harvest this fall. These samples will be analyzed for DON in the lab and the results will be reviewed by the committee as soon as possible. These results may assist the committee, industry and crop advisors in providing growers with more information about:
  • the factors associated with DON production,
  • the range in tolerance among hybrids to mycotoxin accumulation
  • the consistency of hybrid tolerance across environments and
  • what growers can do to reduce their risk for next year.
  • research or testing that the OCC could undertake to improve our knowledge about hybrid response to Gibberella and/or management practices to reduce the risk of DON accumulation.
2) The OCC also established a working group, consisting of growers, plant breeders, seed companies, extension and pathologists, charged with recommending actions and/or research that the OCC can implement beginning in 2019 to assist the industry in reducing the risk of a similar crisis in the future. This will include investigating a system to develop hybrid ratings.


For further information contact Shawn Winter, chair of the Ontario Corn Committee, at shawn@maizex.com or 519-682-1720.