Ottawa and Ontario work together to help growers affected by the disease
By Diego Flammini
Two levels of government announced how they will help Ontario producers with high levels of DON in their corn.
Today, the federal and provincial governments outlined three measures through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
They will open an application process to help farmers recover some costs associated with DON testing. The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association will handle the applications. The organization will share more information on its website within the next two weeks.
The governments will also support new projects to help market DON corn. Officials will conduct research with Grain Farmers of Ontario on ways to reduce the frequency of DON in Ontario’s corn and find temporary storage solutions to help improve grain quality.
“We want Ontario farmers and others working in our agricultural sector to succeed,” Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s ag minister, said in a statement today. “That means working to find solutions that will help them get ahead, despite the challenges nature may cause them.”
Growers are appreciative of the government’s support.
The proposed actions are the first step in helping growers overcome DON challenges, said Larry Davis, a grain producer from Brant County.
“The governments are saying that they realize farmers have a problem and, through available programs, will see if they can make something work for affected farmers,” Davis told Farms.com.
DON test costs can start at about $10 and go up to $40 per test or more depending on the levels in the crop, Davis said.
“When I take the corn to the elevator, they want to know everything I’ve done that might affect the DON levels in corn,” he said. “They might test once every four or five loads, or they might test every load if your levels are high.”
Davis hopes the research initiatives will help seed growers and end users find solutions because, right now, farmers feel the disease’s pinch.
“The seed companies don’t pay for DON issues and neither do the end users. It’s the farmers that pay for it,” Davis said. “We need to find a way to get this off the backs of farmers.”