Canada Markets

Ontario Corn Quality Survey Points to Challenges Ahead

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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The recent release of the 2018 Grain Corn Ear Mould and Vomitoxin Survey highlighted the severity of vomitoxin found in Ontario's corn crop. As seen by the yellow bar, 25% of the 2018 samples surveyed were found to have greater than five parts per million vomitoxim, a record level, while 40% of the crop is testing above 2 parts per million (grey bar plus yellow bar). (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

The annual 2018 Grain Corn Ear Mould and Vomitoxin (DON) Survey conducted in Ontario points to challenges for the province's industry because of record levels of vomitoxin found. As seen on the attached chart, 25% of the samples tested revealed greater than five parts per million vomitoxin, which compares to 6% of the crop in 2017 and the previous record of 8% in 2016. This is indicated by the yellow bars on the attached graphic, while the grey bars suggest an additional 15% of the samples tested between 2 and 5 ppm. A combination of moisture accumulations and high humidity starting in late July and lasting into September was key to the onset of disease.

It is important to note that these results are based on 146 samples taken across the province, from a combination of grower samples (102 samples) as well as samples taken from border rows of field trials conducted by the Ontario Corn Committee (44 samples). Chances exist that the actual distribution from the harvested crop across the province could differ from the sample results.

Discounts are being reported at local elevators. One company's Home Page posted the following:

IMPORTANT NOTICE! THERE IS A VOMITOXIN ISSUE FACING THE INDUSTRY THIS 2018 CORN HARVEST. IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE FACTS AND POSSIBLE DISCOUNTS THAT COULD AFFECT YOU.

It is interesting to note that the range of basis levels reported for the province has shown weakness at the lower-end this week since last Friday's close, reported at $0.55 to $1.40/bushel over the December contract, down $0.05 to unchanged as of Oct. 17. This seems contrary to what could be expected as quality supplies tighten, and also despite recent Canadian dollar weakness.

Discounts are indicated to vary. One company's website shows a discount of $0.50/bu. for product testing 5.1 to 8 ppm vomitoxin with higher levels rejected, although they suggest that this policy may change when the full effects of the harvest are understood. Other reports suggest discounts of $0.75/bu. up to 13 ppm followed by outright rejection. Producers are well-advised to seek independent grades from representative samples in order to effectively market this crop.

Statistics Canada's latest production estimates have pegged the province's corn production at 9.050 million metric tons, or 62.6% of Canada's total production.

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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at cliff.jamieson@dtn.com

Follow Cliff Jamieson on Twitter @CliffJamieson

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