Ontario is a world-class producer of seed corn, due to the region’s exceptional combination of climate, soils, production expertise and infrastructure. As with other production areas, the competitive nature of the North American seed corn industry has had a significant impact in Ontario and the industry has gone through substantial changes in recent years and unfortunately challenges to the industry will continue. However, problems in seed corn production in the United States during the 2011 and 2012 growing seasons highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy Ontario seed corn industry. Production of seed in the province enhances or increases the regional diversity of the seed corn production system in North America which is critical to meeting corn seed supply requirements in the future. Environmental concerns with nutrients and pests and competition for land base with other rotational crops are part of these production challenges.
One advantage the Ontario seed corn industry possesses is “quality”. Maintaining our productivity and quality under variable growing conditions in the future is critical to the ongoing viability of the Ontario industry. There are many yield limiting factors such as diseases and understanding these factors are critical to the future health and growth of the seed corn industry in Ontario. An enhanced understanding of the barriers to yield and the compensatory management techniques for Ontario seed corn production is key to a sustainable and dependable Ontario seed corn and commercial corn production industry.
With the potential expansion of corn acres in Ontario and other areas within North America the increase in disease and insect pests will only increase with a reduction of rotation crop alternatives. The information obtained on disease and insect impacts in Ontario seed corn and commercial corn fields will assist both private and public breeders in hybrid development which will help meet this challenge and potentially reduce loses to diseases and other pests.