Wild harvest weather leaves U.S. farmers worried about mycotoxins

The 2018 harvest has proven to be a challenging one for some American farmers, reports Wisconsin State Farmer, as cold temperatures, winds and even bouts of rain and snow have hampered work.

Now that the ground has dried up a bit, agriculture authorities are noting that grain damaged by earlier weather could present mycotoxin risks.

“Because of the challenging conditions this growing season, there is an increased likelihood of damaged or moldy grain,” said Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Sheila Harsdorf in a statement. “If you suspect you may have a problem with your grain, consider having it tested prior to commingling or delivering it.”

The harsh weather impacts what the U.S. Department of Agriculture expects could be a record harvest for some crops, but the rain has many worrying that mold will thrive. Testing is necessary to make sure the crops aren’t in danger of mycotoxin contamination.

“It’s really hard to ask farmers to slow down, given the value of that crop in the field and they want to get it out before it’s all laying on the ground,” said Wisconsin soybean and small grains specialist Shawn Conley. “But I think in the long run, it may behoove them to maybe slow down a little bit and just get an assessment.”

The DATCP statement also reminded elevators that they should be upfront about their standards, identifying which loads will be rejected, and have a well-defined procedure in place for testing. Elevators should also understand regulatory requirements for storing grain.

For a weekly update into mycotoxin levels in grain throughout the U.S., subscribe to Neogen’s Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report.

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