Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Water, water everywhere!

We finally received some rain and boy did we need it! But, of course when it rains it pours. Below are 3 issues that cause concern with excessive rainfall.

1. Equipment. Please make sure that if there is heavy rain that equipment gets moved to a place where it cannot be damaged. I know a few growers who took the time to move their irrigation pumps further up the banks to accommodate the flowing rivers and creeks and I hope that everyone was able to do this in a timely fashion.

2. Flooding. With large amounts of rain flooding of fields from river, creek or stream water is a major concern. I am sure that you all remember Hurricanes Frances and Ivan! Because there is no way of knowing what kinds of contaminants are found in flood waters, crops that have been flooded CANNOT be harvested and sold for human consumption. A chlorine rinse is NOT adequate to guarantee safety of the produce. Crops intended for human consumption are considered contaminated if they have been covered with flood waters from rivers, creeks or streams. Growers should distinguish between rainwater that accumulates on a field because of excessive rainfall versus fields covered by flood waters from risen rivers, creeks or streams.
Here is a link from the Food Science Dept. at NCSU:
If you would like more information about food safety of flooded crops or have any questions please contact me and I will do my best to provide you with assistance.

3. Disease. Be on the look out for diseases that are favored by cool and wet conditions such as Late Blight of tomato and potato, Phytophthora Blight or root rot and Downy Mildew of cucurbits. If you think you have a disease problem make sure to get it positively identified so that we can get you on an appropriate spray program (if necessary or applicable). There have been no reports of Late Blight, yet, but Downy Mildew of cucurbits has been reported on cucumber in the WNC.

*Thanks to Dr. Jeanine Davis and Diane Ducharme for passing along great information about food safety issues in flooded fields.