Survey Points to No Major Vomitoxin Concern in Ontario Corn Crop

Vomitoxin does not appear to a major problem in the Ontario corn crop this year.

An annual survey carried out by the province in collaboration with Grain Farmers of Ontario and members of the Ontario Agri-Business Association found 89% of the more than 200 randomly collected field samples tested below 2 parts per million for vomitoxin - which is in line with long term survey averages. Only 10% of samples tested between 2 and 5 parts per million, with just 1% over 5 ppm.

Mycotoxins, particularly deoxynivalenol (DON, also referred to as vomitoxin) are produced primarily by Gibberella/Fusarium ear moulds and can be disruptive when fed to livestock, especially hogs.

The worst year for vomitoxin in the Ontario corn crop was in 2018, when less than 60% of the samples tested at 2 ppm or below, with one-quarter at 5 ppm or above. In that year, crop with higher levels of vomitoxin faced heavy price discounts at the elevator or was otherwise completely unmarketable. Damage ran into the millions and millions of dollars.

Wet conditions and insect damage are the biggest cause of elevated vomitoxin levels, and heavy and frequent rains that started in late June and continued during the latter two weeks of July initially raised fears that a significant outbreak could occur this year. But August and the first half of September were generally drier and warmer, although some areas continued to receive rainfall. Drier conditions through August and September likely limited ear mould progression in fields where infection was established. Meanwhile, insect feeding damage also appeared relatively low in 2021 survey samples.

But while this year’s survey does point to low levels of vomitoxin in general, a provincial report said growers should still remain vigilant and understand management options in fields with higher vomitoxin concentrations. It also warned survey did not capture all regions of the province and results can vary from field to field depending on local weather, hybrid, planting date, insect feeding, rotation, residue levels, fungicide practices and moisture.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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