By Connor Lynch
The province’s annual mycotoxin survey results are a sigh of relief to farmers fearing a repeat of last year’s vomitoxin woes.
Last year, vomitoxin (or DON) was the story of harvest season, scuppering a fantastic corn crop. Many producers ended up with lots of corn that was either being steeply discounted or was completely unsellable. Unreliable tests, where producers would circle back to elevators and get completely different results, were just an added frustration.
This year’s initial results for vomitoxin levels in the corn are just the opposite.
This year’s survey, done in early October by a team of OMAFRA field crop specialists, the GFO and the Ontario Agri-Business Association, found that 96 per cent of Ontario’s corn was testing at 2 parts per million (ppm) or lower for vomitoxin. Discounts for most elevators kicked in at 3 ppm, with outright rejection of a load typically happening at 8 ppm. The worst hit spots were in the deep southwest in Essex County and in the central region of Western Ontario, around Hamilton and into Huron and the northern part of Middlesex County.
This year is the best for vomitoxin levels since 2013, when 98 per cent of corn tested was below 2 ppm. Last year, meanwhile, only 60 per cent of the crop was below 2 ppm. A remarkable 25 per cent was above 5 ppm, where producers were facing at least a steep discount from an elevator, if not outright rejection.
The lateness of the crop probably played a role in this year’s lower levels, according to the survey. Growing conditions for the moulds (which create toxic byproducts, including vomitoxin) were less favourable this year, which was also likely a factor.
No worries about vomitoxin in corn this year, survey says
By Connor Lynch