How to grade, handle and market flooded grain? There may not be an opportunity, according to the federal Food and Drug Administration, if toxins and contaminants are present. Soybeans submerged in flood waters originating off the farm are considered by the U.S. FDA to be adulterated and unfit for consumption. Farmers should discuss this with insurance adjustor as a priority item and document flooding and crop damage to the fullest extent possible, before harvesting or destroying any crops.
Check with elevators and processors before delivering damaged grain. Remember that with flooded grain, there is a chance that contaminants or toxins are present from contact with flood water. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Service’s Food & Drug Division is offering to test flooded commodities for contaminants as part of an initiative to divert flooded commodities to animal feed.
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services recently advised grain dealers and farmers on grading standards for flooded grain. According to the NCDA&CS, “Grain materially affected by flooding is considered as distinctly low quality (DLQ) and certified as U.S. Sample Grade. Official personnel must report lots that are DLQ to the district FDA office as actionable.”
The NCDA& CS advice goes on to say that “distinctly low quality (DLQ) grain is of inferior quality because it is in an unusual state or condition, and cannot be graded properly by use of other grading factors provided in the standards. The determination of DLQ is made on the basis of the lot as a whole at the time of sampling when a condition exists that may or may not appear in the representative sample and /or the sample as a whole.”
The upshot of this is that at an elevator or processor’s location where a certified grader is inspecting soybeans, the buyer is not going to accept flooded or submerged grain, and is not going to encourage farmers to deliver grain that might be distinctly low quality.
Farmers must be aware of this, and should not mix flooded, submerged, or otherwise moisture damaged beans with the good beans, at risk of spoiling the entire lot and / or having the lot rejected at the market.