- Produce from flooded areas: considerations for grower, packing houses, and processors [Wisconsin DoA]
- Safely Using Produce from Flooded Gardens [UW Extension]
- Questions on Salvaging Flooded Crops [NCSU Fact Sheet 99-21]
- Food Safety after a flood [UVM Ext Fact Sheet May 2011]
|Photo by Bill Gallo Jr, nj.com, Damage at Cumberland...|
There is not only a food safety issue, but produce quality. How many have harvested eggplant, peppers or watermelon and let them set a day to find the fruit breaking down. Have you shipped a load that looked good and had it returned running out of the trailer? It is better to make sure the produce is sound before shipping than paying to have it returned. Harvesting in flooded areas only increases the chances that the crop will be in poor condition when it arrives at the market. If there is winter squash and pumpkins in the field ready to harvest, let them set for a few days before picking up. That will give the bad fruit a chance to breakdown. When harvested make sure the squash and pumpkins can dry off completely so there are no rot problems. Consider wiping the fruit with a chlorine solution (100-150 ppm) to reduce microbial load on the surface. Growers who plan to store squash will need to be especially vigilant that the squash do not breakdown.
Crops that are small will need additional fertilizer after these rains. If possible, cultivate and sidedress with your normal fertilizer applications for bare ground crops or inject through the drip for crops on plastic. If the crops on bare ground are too large to sidedress, consider foliar applications of Urea (9 lbs/100 gal of water at 50-100 gal/A).
Do not stop your normal pest management programs. Some growers may think about waiting to see what the crop looks like in a week or two. If you do, it is too late! Flooding increases the severity of diseases. When roots become waterlogged they cannot take up nutrients, become discolored, rot and the plant dies. Phytophthora, Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Sclerotinia will be more prevalent after all these rains. For growers who plant peppers and eggplant make sure to spray fungicides for phytophthora control.