Management of Pre-Harvest Flood Damaged Corn and Soybeans.
Gregory Roth1, Thomas B. Murphy1, Craig E. Altemose1, Gregory Hostetter2, Mark Madden2, and J. Lee Miller2. (1) The Pennsylvania State Univ., Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, 116 ASI Bldg., University Park, PA 16802-3504, (2) Pennsylvania State University, Juniata County Cooperative Extension, Mifflintown, PA 17059
In mid September 2004, the remnants of Hurricane Ivan passed through Pennsylvania and New York. Precipitation associated with this storm exceeded 15 cm in some locations and this resulted in widespread flooding in the Susquehanna and other watersheds in the both states. Over 40,000 acres of corn (Zea mays L.) and approximately 20,000 acres of soybeans (Glycine max) were inundated with floodwater in Pennsylvania, which in some cases completely submerged the crops. After 48 to 72 hours the floodwater subsided, leaving crop producers and their advisors many questions regarding the potential use of these crops. Grain brokers expressed concerns about potential contaminants in the floodwaters from fuel tanks, sewage treatment plants and other industrial facilities. Penn State Cooperative Extension worked closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop guidelines for testing and utilization these crops. Based on guidance from the FDA, use of these “adulterated” crops for food uses was not recommended. Use as feed was deemed acceptable if producers had grain tested for mycotoxins, PCBs, heavy metals, and pesticides, through a program developed by the PDA. This provided some quantitative assessment of the marketability of the grain that was useful for USDA-FSA and crop insurance adjusters to use in setting policies regarding the disposition of disaster and crop insurance payments for individual fields. Some producers harvested these corn crops for silage with mixed success with some poor fermentations reported. Many corn fields were able to be salvaged for grain with acceptable grain quality parameters six to eight weeks after the event. Warm dry conditions following the event helped to reduce mold problems. Many soybean fields were lodged and unharvestable.