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Serving: East

Drought Damage Sizzles Up from the South

Alert crop insurer before chopping damaged corn for silage, test for toxins.

New England farmers have been relieved in recent weeks that the rains have slowed down. Meanwhile farmers in parts of Western New York, Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic have just the opposite problem. By mid-July, many corn fields "pineappled" beyond the point of return.

Maryland has joined the growing list of southern states seeking federal drought disaster designation. Pennsylvania, according to our sources, isn't far behind.

On Monday, Maryland Ag Secretary Roger Richardson issued a reminder to farmers who purchased crop insurance to stay in close contact with their crop insurance agents. Payment is based on abiding with the following rules:

  • Written notice should be provided to crop insurance agents within 72 hours of discovery of damage or loss; 15 days before harvest begins, and within 15 days after harvesting is completed.
  • Do not destroy evidence of damage until a loss adjuster evaluates it
  • If harvesting grain-type corn for silage, grain content must be determined before harvest, regardless of whether the crop is insured on yield or revenue. If loss adjusting workload doesn't permit adjusters to appraise damaged crop acreage before you're ready to start cutting silage, federal crop insurance policies require that loss adjusters select sample row areas for later yield determination and provide the farmer with written authority to leave such areas that they designate as sample rows.
  • File your notice of damage as early as possible so harvesting won't be delayed while waiting for a loss adjuster.

Free toxin testing in Maryland

Maryland Department of Agriculture is now offering farmers free testing of corn grain and forage for nitrates, aflatoxins and prussic acid. These compounds, which can be deadly to livestock, are often present in grain in dry weather conditions.

Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for the sampling and submission process. Or find the instructions on the Ag department's Web site:

TAGS: Extension
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