Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Actions taken by the Ontario Corn Committee

December 31, 2018  By Ontario Corn Committee

At its annual meeting in mid-November, the Ontario Corn Committee (OCC) spent much time discussing how best to respond to the current Gibberella ear rot outbreak that is resulting in the high levels of DON in corn this year.

The OCC is 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.

Regrettably, the OCC 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 south-western 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.

The OCC understands that these actions do little to ease the devastation and desperation currently being experienced by corn growers across Ontario. However, OCC is committed to doing all it can to help find solutions for the future.

For further information contact:
Shawn Winter, Chair, Ontario Corn Committee
Maizex Seeds Inc
4488 Mint Line, R. R. # 2
Tilbury, ON N0P 2L0
Phone: 519-682-1720

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