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More than Six Inches of Rain Fall in Portions of SC

Once again Columbia is the big winner this week for the most rainfall for the week in South Carolina with more than 6.5 inches of rain, more than 5 inches above normal. The Columbia area also came close to setting a record low maximum of 79 degrees, more than 11 degrees below normal, which is the second coolest high temperature in the 127 years that records have been kept. The week’s average temperature came in with the third coolest at just shy of 74 degrees, almost 7 degrees below normal.

FAA Allows Ag Drone Surveillance

High-tech agriculture is about to get even more techy. The FAA is now deciding on test sites for domestic drones to be used for ag, search-and-rescue and other non-warfare applications. Yes – those creepy things the military uses to drop bombs on terrorists – and EPA has been accused of using to spy on farmers – also have peaceful applications – including for agriculture. The FAA is expected to pick half a dozen test sites in December and expects 75-hundred drones to fill the air in five-years.

Many will be used on the farm – according to Gretchen West with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International

“Their primary function is to provide aerial imagery of the crop so the USDA can find a lot of value in using these systems. Most of them are very small, around 25 lbs, and can be remotely operated from the ground.”

The FAA is developing rules for commercial drone use by farmers.

Greensboro Receives Most Rain This Week

In this week’s weather recap for North Carolina, the Greensboro reporting station received the most rain out of the last seven days with 3.71 inches. As might be expected with the rare August cold front that came through mid-week, the average temperature in Greensboro was just over 69 degrees, which is more than 8 degrees off the average, and the coolest average in that area since record keeping began 111 years ago. Another record broken by that area was the coolest maximum temperature of 75.4 degrees, almost 11 degrees below normal.

NCDA Suggesting Corn Be Tested for Aflatoxins

In this extremely wet year it should come as no surprise that North Carolina Department of Agriculture is suggesting that as corn harvest continues, farmers test their corn for aflatoxins, not only for food safety, also for crop insurance purposes. The samples must be submitted to a grain marketing location certified by USDA, and have a cost of $22.20 per sample. For insurance or quality assurance purposes, farmers must submit a 5-pound sample of shelled corn via UPS or FedEx to a USDA certified grain marketing location.

**More information on testing from NCDA&CS:

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging farmers to have their corn tested for aflatoxin to prevent contamination of feeds and food.
Aflatoxin is a byproduct of the mold Aspergillus flavus, and can be harmful to both humans and livestock.

"Because of our climate in North Carolina, there's always the potential for aflatoxin to appear," Troxler said. "Farmers should take advantage of our testing service to protect feed and food against this mold."

Some farmers may need to have corn samples tested for crop insurance or quality assurance purposes. These samples must be submitted to a grain marketing location certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The tests cost $22.20 per sample.

For insurance or quality assurance purposes, farmers must submit a 5-pound sample of shelled corn by mail, UPS or FedEx to a USDA-certified grain marketing location. The following locations can conduct USDA-certified testing, and they will accept samples between 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays:

Cargill Soybean Plant
Attn: Ben Honeycutt
1400 S. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC 27603

Grain Grading Office
Attn: Judy Grimes
407-G South Griffin St.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Farmers who grow or buy bulk corn to feed to their own animals can have it tested for free by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Constable Laboratory, 4000 Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh. This laboratory is not on the Risk Management Agency's approved testing facility list; therefore, results from this location will not be accepted for insurance claims.

Farmers may drop off 5-pound samples of shelled corn at the lab or at one of six agricultural research stations. Forms for submitting samples will be available at the following collection sites:

Border Belt Tobacco Research Station, 86 Border Belt Drive, Whiteville, 910-648-4703;
Peanut Belt Tobacco Research Station, 112 Research Station Lane, Lewiston-Woodville, 252-348-2213;
Tidewater Research Station, 207 Research Station Road, Plymouth, 252-793-4118;
Lower Coastal Plain Tobacco/Cunningham Research Station, 200 Cunningham Road, Kinston, 252-527-3579;
Piedmont Research Station, 8350 Sherrills Ford Road, Salisbury, 704-278-2624;
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, 74 Research Drive, Fletcher, 828-684-7197.

Samples also may be mailed directly to the lab at the following address:
N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Food and Drug Protection Division
1070 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1070

For additional information about the aflatoxin testing program, contact Jennifer Godwin or Michelle Gilliam at 919-733-7366. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.