Corn School: Could 2017 be another vomitoxin year?

Japanese beetles feeding on corn at Ridgetown, Ontario.

A late-maturing crop, difficult environmental conditions, significant insect pressure and potential for late-season leaf disease…although too early to tell – this growing list of factors could lead to another year of high vomitoxin levels in the Ontario corn crop.

In this episode of RealAgriculture Corn School, OMAFRA plant pathologist Albert Tenuta takes a look at the host of compounding factors that could potentially add up to a tough harvest and grain quality concerns.

Tenuta also offers tips on how to best manage the crop through the fall. He says scouting will play a key role in managing vomitoxin levels. “Get out there and do a pre-harvest assessment. Look for ear moulds, stalk rots and anything that could be impacting the overall health of the crop.”

Tenuta advises growers to take a close look at the disease ratings of their hybrids to determine which ones are more susceptible or more tolerant. “If you see fields with 10 to 15 percent of plants with stalk rots and ear moulds you want to get that crop out of the field as quickly as possible and dry it down to stop that mould from developing.”

OMAFRA will again be conducting its vomitoxin survey in 2017. Tenuta says they’ll be contacting growers a little later this year – likely the third and fourth weeks of September – because of the later season. “We’ll have a better handle then on where we are in regard to the incidence of mould as well as vomitoxin levels.”

Click here for more Corn School episodes.

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Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture’s Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John’s, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation awards for journalism excellence. He’s also worked for two of Canada’s leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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