Grain corn ear mould, such as Gibberella, is on the rise in Ontario this year, a Friday OMAFRA field crop report said.
Industry representatives tested corn ear samples, collected from Sept. 21 to 28, for the survey. Overall, 60 per cent of tested samples ranked low (<2.00 ppm) for Vomitoxin (DON), a type of mycotoxin.
Signs of visual mould were greater in this year’s results, and a larger number of samples had heightened DON concentrations. DON can be harmful when fed to certain livestock, such as pigs.
Although samples ranked low for DON, “growers should remain vigilant and be aware of management options in those fields with higher ear mould and DON concentrations,” the report said.
Prevailing wet weather is a main culprit behind this year’s ear mould in grain corn.
“Basically, (grain corn earworm) is anywhere where we have had increased moisture levels,” Jason Webster, commercial agronomist for Precision Planting, told Farms.com today. “We have some areas where we’ve had late rainfall events that have inhibited growers from getting into harvest and, as we increase moisture levels, … that’s going to be inoculation for moulds to infect a crop.”
In past years, feeding damage from pests like western bean cutworm (WBC) was a main cause of increased DON levels. In this year’s survey results, however, ear damage from pest feeding was minimal.
Along with the Grain Farmers of Ontario and members of the Ontario Agri-Business Association, OMAFRA field crop staff collected the data for the annual provincial corn ear mould and
Agricorp customers with mould issues should contact the agency at 1-888-247-4999 to report the damage.