RALEIGH — Dry weather means that farmers are harvesting their corn a little earlier this year. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging farmers to have their corn tested for aflatoxin to prevent contamination of feeds and food.
Aflatoxin is a byproduct of the mold Aspergillus flavus, and can be harmful to both humans and livestock.
“Corn that has been harvested from areas that suffer from drought will be highly susceptible to aflatoxin,” said Troxler. “Farmers in drought–stricken areas are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this testing. We have six drop-off locations at research stations across the state to make it easy for farmers to submit samples.”
Some farmers may need to have corn samples tested for crop insurance or quality assurance purposes. These samples must be submitted to a grain marketing location certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The tests cost $22.20 per sample.
For insurance or quality assurance purposes, farmers must submit a 5-pound sample of shelled corn by mail, UPS or FedEx to a USDA-certified grain marketing location. The following locations can conduct USDA-certified testing, and they will accept samples between 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays:
Cargill Soybean Plant
Attn: Jason Jernigan
1400 S. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC 27603
Grain Grading Office
Attn: Judy Grimes
407-G South Griffin St.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909
Farmers who grow or buy bulk corn to feed to their own animals can have it tested for free by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Constable Laboratory, 4000 Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh. This Laboratory is not on the Risk Management Agency’s approved testing facility list; therefore, results from this location will not be accepted for insurance claims.
Farmers may drop off 5-pound samples of shelled corn at the Constable Laboratory or at one of six agricultural research stations. Forms for submitting samples will be available at the laboratory and the following collection sites:
— Border Belt Tobacco Research Station, 86 Border Belt Drive, Whiteville, 910-648-4703;
— 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.
Samples mailed via the US Postal Service should be sent to:
N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Food and Drug Protection Division
Attn: Forage Testing
1070 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1070
Samples mailed via FedEx or UPS should be sent to:
Forage Testing, NCDA&CS
4000 Reedy Creek Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27607
For more information about the aflatoxin testing program, call George Ferguson, feed compliance officer, 919-733-7366.