By Connor Lynch
GUELPH — Western Ontario corn and soybeans were rocked with claims last year. DON — a toxic mould byproduct that can reduce or eliminate the value of a corn crop — rocked producers. Elevators typically started offering discounts for corn at 3 parts per million of DON, and a common cutoff was 8 ppm. Some producers were reporting DON levels as high as 40 ppm or even higher.
It took a serious toll on producers, and Agricorp’s latest crop insurance data reflects that. The latest numbers from Ontario’s Guelph-based crop insurance provider, as of April 3, are that Western Ontario production insurance claims in 2018 were over four times higher than the average for the last five years.
Western Ontario in total claimed over $49 million in production insurance last year. Middlesex County was by far the hardest hit county across Ontario; it was also one of the counties hardest hit by DON infection. Producers there claimed over $10 million in production insurance on corn and soybeans, of $12 million in total claims across all crops. That’s also 14 times higher than the county’s five-year average for claims.
Lambton County, Oxford County, Perth County, Elgin County, Essex County, and Chatham-Kent also had outsized claims compared to their averages.
Western Ontario had nine of the top 10 worst-hit counties in the province.
Agricorp bases its crop prices on Chatham and Hensall track prices.