This week, many Mid-Atlantic wheat growers will be heading to the fields with their combines. Before you do, consider this cautionary reminder from Scott Lucas, director of USDA's Risk Management Agency regional office in Raleigh, N.C.
Weather conditions have made vomitoxin from Fusarium fungus a threat to this year's wheat crop. Make sure you follow the proper procedures for crop insurance if you are dealing with vomitoxin.
If you think your wheat might have vomitoxin, notify your crop insurance agent before harvesting the grain – certainly before delivering it for sale. Your insurance provider will take samples for testing and submit them to an approved testing facility.
Pre-harvest sampling strongly encouraged
Vomitoxin levels can increase in storage. That's why it's highly advisable, says Lucas, to have it tested before putting it in on-farm storage. Losses are only insurable if the grain is tested at an approved testing facility before being moved into commercial storage.
You may also make arrangements with your insurance provider to leave representative sample areas of the unharvested crop. The adjuster will take samples from these areas for vomitoxin testing.
But you cannot collect your own samples. Samples must be collected by the insurance provider or a disinterested third party, such as an approved elevator.
A list of approved testing facilities in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia on the RMA website. Additional vomitoxin information can be found at this RMA website.
Or contact your insurance agent with any questions concerning vomitoxin. That agent can provide you with information specific to your needs.