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Managing and predicting mycotoxin accumulation in corn
The 2006 gibberella ear rot outbreak and the subsequent mycotoxins contamination in Ontario corn highlighted the need to better understand the susceptibility of corn hybrids to toxin accumulation, and the necessary strategies to mitigate the impact of the problem.
Drs. Art Schaafsma and Victor Limay-Rios at the University of Guelph Ridgetown campus are trying to get ahead of another such outbreak. They’re studying the Fusarium mycotoxin deoxynivalenol, popularly known as DON.
The researchers are working to understand the weather conditions conducive to Fusarium infection and DON production in corn ears, to develop a pre-harvest disease forecasting model.
They are also developing a platform for screening corn hybrids for disease susceptibility and tolerance, and evaluating new generation of fungicides against this disease.
“Standardized information on commercial hybrid reaction to Fusarium infection and toxin formation are essential to develop an integrated management system in Ontario corn,” says Limay-Rios. “If we see a hybrid that’s particularly susceptible, we could recommend to take it out of the market.”
Two seed companies are participating in the study and the researchers hope to expand it to include the most popular hybrids in the market.
This research is funded by the Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Pork, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Agricultural Adaptation Council. •
Choose carefully for late-season herbicide application
Late herbicide application can have a significant effect on weeds and soybeans.
University of Guelph Dr. Peter Sikkema, Ridgetown campus, found crop protection products such as Roundup and FirstRate do not harm soybeans, even when applied beyond the registered application timing.
However, others such as Pursuit and Pinnacle cause “unacceptable soybean injury and yield loss,” he says.
According to Sikkema, this information is important to both IP and RR soybean producers. Applying Roundup with manganese formulations during the same period was also found to reduce yield and weed control.
“The knowledge gained from this work will help growers choose the safest herbicides in unusual circumstances,” he says.
“However, every field is different. Ultimately, knowing what weeds are present is the first step for successful weed management ensuring maximum yield and profit.”
This research was funded in part by Grain Farmers of Ontario and through Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of several Growing Forward programs in Ontario.•
Research Roundup is provided by members of SPARK (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) at the University of Guelph’s Office of Research. For more information, contact a SPARK writer at 519-824-4120, ext. 52667.