Farmers Urged to Check Crop Insurance Before Chopping Corn

MDA is Encouraging Cover Crop Planting; Offering Free Grain Testing to Farmers

ANNAPOLIS (July 14, 2010) – With reports of drought conditions and crop loss already coming in from farmers, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is encouraging all farmers to plant cover crops to take up any excess nutrients left behind by drought-damaged crops; to work closely with crop insurance agents to understand the requirements to receive indemnity payments; and to use MDA’s free testing for aflatoxins, nitrates and prussic acid, which may be present in grain and forage. These compounds, which can be deadly to livestock, are often present in grain in dry weather conditions.

“Because of the dry weather, Maryland’s corn crop will likely be ready early, which will present a great opportunity for farmers to participate in the cover crop program and plant early,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “Farmers may be able to plant cover crops by October 1 to take up potential excess nutrients remaining in the soil, reduce soil erosion, protect water quality and receive the maximum incentives offered through the program. The deadline for enrolling in the program is July 15 at soil conservation district offices. In addition, I encourage farmers to contact their crop insurance agent to understand claim filing requirements and to take advantage of MDA’s grain testing service.”

Free Grain/Forage Testing for Drought-Related Toxins

The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s State Chemist Section is offering free testing of drought affected grain and forage. Samples should be 4-5 pounds (minimum of 2 pounds) and should be submitted through local University of Maryland Extension offices. The sample should be frozen if possible. To find a local office, visit For grain sampling instructions and a submission form, log onto .

Crop Insurance

Federal crop insurance requires written notice be given 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 but not later than Dec. 10 for grain corn and soybeans on a farm unit basis. Also farmers are reminded to not destroy evidence of damage until a loss adjuster evaluates it.

It is important for farmers who are planning to cut grain-type corn for silage to determine the grain content before harvesting regardless of whether the crop is insured on yield or revenue.

If loss adjusting workload does not permit adjusters to appraise damaged crop acreage before a farmer is 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. It is important that notice of damage be filed with a crop insurance agent as early as the farmer determines that damage occurred so that harvesting is not delayed while waiting for a loss adjuster.

For more information about crop insurance, contact your crop insurance agent; Mark Powell, Chief of Marketing and Agricultural Development at MDA 410-841-5775; or Gene Gantz, Risk Management Specialist with the USDA Risk Management Agency 717-787-4694.

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