Runoff or wind spread from animal pens, and grazing pastures, or fields receiving manure applications can contaminate your produce field. Pathogens and contaminants can persist in soil for a prolonged period of time. For example, E. coli O157:H7 can survive in soil for up to 21 months. Pathogen populations in raw manure tend to rapidly die off, but can survive in the soil at low populations for a prolonged amount of time. Factors such as exposure to the sun (solarization) and wind (desiccation) may help reduce pathogen populations. Monitor the field for any signs of runoff from adjacent land. If there is a risk present, reassess field use or create physical barriers such as windbreaks, buffer strips, or diversion ditches to protect produce fields.
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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture