Monday, September 21, 2009


Radial cracking of tomato due to excess rain

We have been experiencing some very rainy weather conditions in WNC for the past few days. Some places are reporting better than 8 inches of rain just in the past 3 days!

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued flood warnings to Henderson, Polk and Transylvania Counties on Sunday night. This afternoon the NWS issued another flood warning until 5:30 pm to Transylvania, western Henderson, Haywood, Buncombe, Swain, Madison and Jackson Counties in WNC.

Some considerations that are important to make during heavy rains are:

1. Equipment. Please make sure that if there is heavy rain or the possibility of flooding 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. Also, don't forget to move port-o-johns! You don't want yours floating down the river!

2. Flooding and flood contaminated produce. 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.

Hopefully you have purchased Noninsured Crop Disaster assistance Program (NAP) insurance. If your crop had been flooded and you have NAP insurance, please contact your local Farm Service Agency for assistance.

Here is a document from the Food Science Dept. at NCSU that talks about flooded crops:

Good luck!

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