Ontario farmers struggle with vomitoxin in corn

Health: News Roundup from the January 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Ontario corn growers have been dealing with vomitoxin in corn this harvest. High precipitation levels promoting Gibberella ear rot ultimately led to high DON levels in the corn. DON is a vomitoxin that can sicken livestock and levels are regulated by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The corn can be used to make ethanol, but ethanol-makers are then left with dried distillers grain with DON.

Ontario’s Agricorp says that most affected farmers are in southwestern and western Ontario, Farms.com reports. Tvo.org reported vomixtoxin levels as high as 25 parts per million, which is 25 times higher than the allowable limit for pig feed.

Provincial and federal governments are offering to cover part of eligible farmers’ expenses for testing DON levels. Both governments also pledged to support new projects to process or market DON-infected corn and to work with the Grain Farmers of Ontario on ways to reduce DON’s impact by, for example, finding ways to temporarily store the corn to improve its quality.

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