Melissa Bartels

What’s going on in Ag? From farmers, to ranchers, to homeowners, everyone has been affected by the recent flooding here in Nebraska. The deadline for reporting livestock loss to the Livestock Indemnity Program, administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency is April 29, for losses that occurred between January and March. This program provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to severe weather, including extreme cold, flooding and storms.

Grain and hay that has come in contact with flood waters (water from rivers/streams) is considered contaminated due to potential chemicals and cannot be fed to livestock or sold. Remember to remove wet hay bales from structures, as they can spontaneously catch fire. Grains that have come in contact with flood waters should be removed from their storage bins, as the grains will begin to swell and could cause damage to the bins.

The safety of garden produce from flooded areas is a concern. Flooded vegetable garden sites and fruit trees may have been contaminated with pathogens, such as E. coli, Salmonella and others brought in by the flood waters, which can cause foodborne illnesses. Therefore, it is advised to wait 90-days before harvesting any produce that does not come in contact with the soil impacted by flood waters, such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn and cucumbers (trellised). It is recommended to wait 120-days before harvesting produce that does touch the soil, such as lettuce, leafy greens, pumpkins, potatoes, melons and carrots. Unfortunately, for those individuals who like to hunt and eat morel mushrooms these recommendations do not apply. It is not advised to eat morel mushrooms gathered for ground that was recently flooded. Since there is no washing technique that will completely remove all possible contaminants (such as pesticide and petroleum residue) from the porous morel mushrooms.

Home lawn care, it’s that time of the year were we watch the soil temperature to determine when to apply our pre-emergence herbicide used to control crabgrass, annual broadleaf weeds and foxtail. Timing is important with this first lawn application, generally in southeast Nebraska it is applied mid-April to the beginning of May. Crabgrass will germinate when soil temperatures reach 55°F for several consecutive days. You can monitor your local soil temperature at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/cropwatchsoiltemperature.

#NebraskaStrong For more information on flood resource please visit https://flood.unl.edu this website is updated weekly.

• Nebraska Farm Hotline/Rural Response Hotline: 800-464-0258

• Nebraska Family Helpline: 888-866-8660

If you are interested in validating research findings on your own land, contact me at Nebraska Extension in Butler County 1-(402)-367-7410 or email at Melissa.Bartels@unl.edu.

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