TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA — The Canadian government will provide funding to the Grain Farmers of Ontario for creation of a tool to forecast the risk of high concentrations of DON in corn crops.
The tool will help farmers make early decisions about their crops and the use of fungicide or other treatments that reduce the risk of DON. It will help reduce DON-related challenges faced throughout the corn supply chain and is similar to the forecasting tool for wheat.
Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a toxic substance caused by a fungus that lowers the market value of affected corn and can render it unmarketable at high levels.
Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, C$3 billion commitment to the agriculture industry, the government will invest up to C$156,750 in the development of the forecasting tool.
“We understand the significant impact the DON issue has presented for Ontario’s grain farmers and the grain value-chain and we are committed to sustainable solutions that will help farmers and the industry as a whole continue to grow and prosper,” said Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.
This adds to a series of actions taken by Canada and Ontario to support farmers and the sector in connection with weather-caused, high-DON levels experienced in portions of the 2018 Ontario corn crop.
Previous government responses to DON-affected Ontario farmers, include:
• Creating a tiered corn salvage benefit in support of requests from farmers who dealt with DON in their corn crop last year.
• Establishing another partnership with the Grain Farmers of Ontario to develop best management practices for in-season mitigation of DON and for effectively managing the storage of high-DON corn.
• The provincial government extending its Commodity Loan Guarantee Program loan repayment deadline, giving farmers affected by DON additional time to market their corn.
• Launching a cost-share program through the Partnership to provide special assistance to farmers experiencing revenue loss over testing for DON in corn.
In addition to the supports to help manage the impacts of DON, the Ontario government also hosted two roundtable sessions with industry representatives to work on connecting farmers with mental health supports and to provide solutions to help the sector find alternate markets for corn with high levels of DON.
“The repercussions of this year’s high-DON levels in corn are still being felt,” said Barry Senft, chief executive officer of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Farmers would welcome a tool that allows us some forecasting in terms of DON levels and helps us to prepare for any issues and maintain our businesses and the province’s grain corn value chain.”