[NAFEX] Grow fruit higher than deer can reach?

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Tue Mar 25 19:23:35 EST 2003

On Tuesday, March 25, 2003, at 01:59 PM, Rick Valley wrote:
>> These days we would also have a complication as raw manure
>> applications too close to harvest are discouraged due to the new e-coli
>> versions; this would be less of a problem if your orchard is all
>> harvested over a relatively limited length of time.
> Does anyone know if these e-coli strains have been studied as to whether
> they are actually a concern in these grazing systems or only in penned 
> and
> fed systems? Are geese a concern for e-coli too, or are they just 
> lumped in
> with the four-leggeds?
I don't think anywhere near enough studies have been done to determine 
in which situations the hazardous e-coli strains are likely to pose a 
problem. One question in my mind is whether they might be more likely to 
pose one, rather than less, when attempts to prevent them have 
discouraged the beneficial strains.

The situation that I'm dealing with is that I'm certified organic. To 
quote from the federal standards which recently went into effect:

"Raw animal manure . . . must be composted unless it is: (i) applied to 
land used for a crop not intended for human consumption; (ii) 
incorporated into the soil not less than 120 days prior to the harvest 
of a product whose edible portion has direct contact with the soil 
surface or soil particles or (iii) incorporated into the soil not less 
than 90 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion does 
not have direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles."

So you can't pasture livestock in an orchard within 90 days prior to 
harvest, and still sell the fruit as organic. How much this has to do 
with actual hazard is another question entirely. We commonly pick for 
our own use apples from friends' home orchard in which horses are 
pastured until right before harvest. They asked us not to take drops, so 
we don't, but if I were them I would be inclined just to wash the drops 
well before eating; but then I have an immune system well trained to 
reasonable degrees of challenge.

There have been serious infections traced to e-coli in cider from 
dropped fruit, but I don't know how well, if at all, it was washed 
before pressing.

Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly (where the peepers are peeping with 
enthusiasm tonight)

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