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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

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
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!

Composting manure for safety what can you do
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


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
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
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
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 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
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