Earlier harvesting could contribute to its existence
By Diego Flammini, Farms.com
Drier weather conditions means that some farmers in North Carolina are harvesting their corn crops a littler earlier than they’re used to. As a result, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging farmers to have their corn tested for aflatoxin.
Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences describes aflatoxins as “toxic, metabolites produced by certain fungi in/on food and feeds.” In some cases, aflatoxin can cause cancer in animals and humans.
“Corn that has been harvested from areas that suffer from drought will be highly susceptible to aflatoxin,” said Troxler.
When livestock consumes high amounts of aflatoxin, it can result in a disease named aflatoxicosis. The aflatoxins metabolize in the liver and can even lead to death within 72 hours. Symptoms of aflatoxicosis can include refusing feed, impaired production, hemorrhaging in muscles and suppression of the immune system.
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture has six locations throughout the state that can provide testing for farmers:
- Border Belt Tobacco Research Station, 86 Border Belt Drive, Whiteville, 910-
- Peanut Belt Tobacco Research Station, 112 Research Station Lane, Lewiston-Woodville, 252-348-2213;
- Tidewater Research Station, 207 Research Station Road, Plymouth, 252-793-4118;
- Lower Coastal Plain Tobacco/Cunningham Research Station, 200 Cunningham Road, Kinston, 252-527-3579;
- Piedmont Research Station, 8350 Sherrills Ford Road, Salisbury, 704-278-2624;
- Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, 74 Research Drive, Fletcher, 828-684-3562.
Farmers who want their corn samples tested for insurance purposes will need to pay $22.20 per sample and they must be done by a certified USDA location.
Farmers who grow or buy bulk corn for feed purposes can have their samples tested for free at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture office in Raleigh. Results from this location will not be accepted for insurance purposes.
Join the conversation and tell us if you’ll take advantage of the testing sites.