Good agricultural practices gap for fresh fruit and vegetable growers
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Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Growers. New England Extension Food Safety Partnership. Project funded by USDA CSREES – Project Number 2000-05389. Manure. Manure Handling and Field Application. Why be Concerned About Manure?.

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Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Growers

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Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Growers

New England Extension Food Safety Partnership

Project funded by USDA CSREES – Project Number 2000-05389


Manure Handling


Field Application

Why be Concerned About Manure?

  • Livestock manure can be a valuable source of nutrients, but it also can be a source of human pathogens if not managed correctly

  • Some pathogens, such as L. monocytogenes and E. coli sp., may survive and grow in the soil

  • Keep manure off produce!

Primary Nutrients In Animal Manures

MircoNutrients In Animal Manure

Composting Manure for Safety:What can you do?

  • Properly and thoroughly compost manure

  • Incorporate manure into soil prior to planting

  • Remember to optimize temperature, turning, and time to produce high quality, stable compost.

    • High temperatures achieved by well-managed, aerobic compost can kill most harmful pathogens

  • If manure is not composted, age the manure to be applied to produce fields for at least six months prior to application

Using Manure That is Not Composted: What can you do?


2. Plan/Choose: Time application properly and choose crops wisely

1. Manage compost piles to achieve high temperatures to kill potential pathogens.

Wes Kline, NJ Agricultural Experiment Station

3. Know the source.

 Plan Before Planting

  • Consider the source, storage, and type of manure being used on the farm

  • Store manure as far away as practical from areas where fresh produce is grown and handled

  • Where possible, erect physical barriers or wind barriers to prevent runoff and wind drift of manure

  • Store manure slurry for at least 60 days in the summer and 90 days in the winter before applying to fields

 Choose Appropriate Crops

  • Apply manure to grain or forage crop

  • Apply manure to perennial crops in the planting year only as the long period between application and harvest will reduce the risks

  • Avoid growing root and leafy crops in the year that manure is applied to a field

  • NO side/top-dressing of plants are important steps toward reducing the risk of microbial contamination

 Time Manure Application Carefully

  • It is recommended that manure is applied late summer/early fall no later than December 10-15

  • Apply manure in the fall or at the end of the season to all planned vegetable ground or fruit acreage, preferable when soils are warm, unsaturated, and cover-cropped

  • If applying manure in the spring (or the start of a season), spread the manure two weeks before planting, preferable to grain or forage crops

  • DO NOT harvest vegetables or fruits until 120 days after manure application

 Incorporate Manure Into The Soil

  • Incorporate manure immediately after application

  • If it is necessary to apply manure or slurry to vegetable or fruit ground, incorporate it at least two weeks prior to planting and observe the suggested 120-day pre-harvest interval

  • If the 120-day waiting period is not feasible, such as for short season crops like lettuce or leafy greens, apply only properly composted manure

Food Safety Partnership

  • New England Cooperative Extension Food Safety Specialists From:

    • University of Connecticut

    • University of Maine

    • University of Massachusetts

    • University of New Hampshire

    • University of Rhode Island

    • University of Vermont

  • Other Representatives:

    • State Agriculture Divisions/Departments

    • USDA Agencies (Farm Service Agency, ASCS, NRCS)

    • Farm Bureau

    • Growers Associations

    • Cooperative Extension Agricultural Specialists/Agents

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