DON-infected corn storage and ethanol trials proposed

A meeting of the grain sector last week has yielded some guidance for farmers

Here’s the latest news on the managing of the DON-infected corn crop.

Get the good corn off: Minister Hardeman

Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman said the main message from his recent meeting of the industry is to get the good quality corn harvested. Leave the DON-infected corn in the field until the industry has a good solution for it, especially for storage, he told the Ontario Federation of Agriculture annual meeting.

He held a meeting with industry representatives last week, and he said a committee has been created to further manage the issue.

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IGPC to do a high-DON corn run

IGPC Ethanol, the producer co-operative based in Aylmer, has committed to a processing run during the week of Nov. 26 in which it will not reject any corn because of toxin level.

The corn will still be graded, but not discounted for toxins.

“Our goal is to perform a commercial scale production run with this corn and measure the resulting ethanol production efficiencies as well as the levels of toxins transferred to the various coproducts we produce,” the IGPC said in a statement on its website.

Toxins are multiplied by the ethanol production process so the dried distillers grains that are a popular feedstuff for livestock, may not be saleable.

The company’s statement said that the high-DON production run does not indicate the direction of the plant for the rest of the year.

“There will be aches and pains, but the information should prove invaluable,” the company letter said.

GFO investing in corn storage, testing

Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) is investing in temporary corn storage and corn testing in the face of the high DON corn making a portion of the Ontario crop unsaleable.

GFO announced the funding after a board meeting last week.

“The grain value chain in Ontario counts for 40,000 jobs and this issue could impact everyone,” said Markus Haerle, chair of GFO. Our farmers face major financial losses that could have devastating impacts on their businesses and the businesses of others across the grain industry.”

The investment was one of several proposals GFO made during a sector meeting last Thursday to address the crisis.

The first GFO investment includes $240,000 in grain baggers to help provide some storage for corn. One of the biggest issues with the DON-infected corn is what to do with it and that has meant farmers just leaving the corn in the field until there are answers. The GFO is looking for grain elevators to host a grain bag storage trial and hopes to hear from them by the end of the work day Nov. 21.

GFO also is investing $100,000 immediately to help improve grain testing. Highly variable testing of loads has been a significant frustration for farmers.

The third commitment that GFO took to the meeting was a DON-infected corn marketing mission to the United States and Western Canada to try to find new markets for the crop.

Ontario Corn Committee will look at DON from trials

The Ontario Corn Committee – the group that manages the Ontario corn hybrid trials says it doesn’t have information on hybrid susceptibility to DON, and the Gibberella ear rot that causes it.

However the committee is collecting samples from each plot across southwestern Ontario this fall and they will be analyze for DON. The committee says it hopes the information from the tests will help figure out:

  • 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.

The OCC established a working group of growers, plant breeders, seed companies, extension experts and crop pathologists to create recommendations or research that can be implemented to risk the recurrence of a DON infection year like 2018.

About the author

Editor

John Greig has spent his career in agriculture journalism and communications. He lives on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Contact John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jgreig

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