OFFERS FREE TESTING FOR CORN, GRAIN TOXINS
Jersey Agriculture Secretary Art Brown Jr. today
urged livestock producers to call the department's
tollfree hotline, 1-877-788-7785, to take advantage
of the department's FREE field corn and grain testing
program before feeding it to their animals.
corn can contain high nitrate concentrations that
can be lethal to some farm animals," Brown cautioned.
said many farmers are facing pastures which have
dried up causing them to feed their winter hay supplies
now. Making the situation even worse is that most
hay crops were significantly damaged so that farms
produced little hay for winter feeding while field
corn crops, also used for animal feed, have been
hard hit by the drought as well.
farmers hoped to salvage something from the devastated
field corn crops by cutting the stalks to turn into
silage as a feed supply for their animals.
normal growing conditions, corn and grain plants
convert the nitrates into proteins which are vital
to the life of the plants and nutritionally valuable
to livestock," Brown said. "But corn stalks that
are stunted by the drought may have nitrates concentrated
in the shorter stalks at levels deadly to livestock."
addition to testing for nitrate concentrations, the
department will arrange to test grain after harvest
for the presence of mycotoxins such as aflatoxin,
a fungus by-product that can also prove fatal if
stressed that not all livestock react the same way
to these toxins and in some cases mixing contaminated
silage with other feed can eliminate the danger.
But he added, "Farmers who have already lost this
year's grain and forage crops to the weather can't
afford to lose livestock or dairy cattle as well.
That's why we're offering this testing program at
no cost to farmers."
livestock growers are already dipping into winter
feed supplies to feed their animals and may find
it difficult to replenish supplies locally. In an
effort to forestall this possibility, Brown has appealed
to his counterparts in 47 states and the agriculture
ministers in the four eastern Canadian provinces
for hay and grain donations as well as donated transportation