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Carabid beetles as sustainability indicators
Clubroot - Nursery Access
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Clubroot - Nursery Monitoring
Clubroot - Nursery Response
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Hangzhou Foods
IPM - approach to Potato crops
IPM - approach to practice change
IPM - Potato/Tomato Psyllid
Lettuce Anthracnose Management
Native Plants - Food Safety
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NY9406 Downy Mildew on seedlings - factsheet
NY9406 Downy Mildew on seedlings - report
NY9406 Downy Mildew on seedlings - review
NY97011 Downy Mildew on seedlings - extension
NY97011 Downy Mildew on seedlings - notes
Parsley Disease Handbook
Parsnip Variety Trials
Phytochemical composition of food
Phytochemicals and Healthy Foods
Reclaimed water - risk model
Reclaimed water use in Victoria
Recycled Water Quality - Lettuce
Sclerotina - Lettuce Conference 2002
Strategies for Control of Root Rot in Apiaceae Crops
Summer Root Rot in Parsley
Thrips & Viruses
Vegetable Disease Program
Vegetable Diseases in Australia
Vegetables Viruses
VG00013 Leek Diseases
VG00016 Environmental Performance
VG00026 IPM Eggplant & Cucumber
VG00031 Peas - downy mildew & collar rot
VG00031 Peas - Downy Mildew - metalaxyl resistance
VG00034 Capsicum & Chillies - weed control
VG00044 Clubroot - Applicator design
VG00044 Clubroot - Chemical control
VG00044 Clubroot - Implementing a control strategy
VG00044 Clubroot - Managing outbreaks
VG00044 Clubroot - Nutritional amendments
VG00044 Clubroot - Strategic application
VG00044 Clubroot – Introduction
VG00044 Clubroot – Limes and liming
VG00044 Clubroot – Prevention & Hygiene
VG00044 Clubroot – Understanding Risk
VG00044 Total Clubroot Management
VG00048 Alternate fungicides for sclerotinia control
VG00048 Brassica green manure conference paper 2004
VG00048 Brassica Green Manure Update 16
VG00048 Brassica Green Manure Update 18
VG00048 Diallyl Disulphide - DADS - trials
VG00048 Lettuce - Sclerotinia biocontrol
VG00048 Lettuce Sclerotina - Biocontrols
VG00058 Pea - Collar Rot
VG00069 Cucumber & Capsicum diseases
VG00084 Beetroot for Processing
VG01045 Bunching Vegetables - disease control
VG01049 Compost - Benefits
VG01049 Compost - Choosing a Supplier
VG01049 Compost - Getting Started
VG01049 Compost - Introduction
VG01049 Compost - Safe Use
VG01049 Safe Use of Poultry Litter
VG01082 Broccoli Adjuvant Poster
VG01082 Broccoli Head Rot
VG01096 Article - White Rot research
VG01096 Integrated Control of Onion White Rot
VG01096 Poster - Alternative fungicides
VG01096 Poster - Diallyl Disulphide - DADS
VG01096 Poster - Trichoderma biocontrol
VG01096 Poster - Trichoderma optimisation
VG01096 White Rot - Spring Onions
VG02020 Capsicum - Sudden Wilt
VG02035 Capsicum - virus resistance
VG02105 Vegetable Seed Dressing Review
VG02118 White Blister
VG03003 Lettuce - Varnish Spot
VG03092 Lettuce - Shelf Life
VG03100 Retailing Vegetables - Broccolini®
VG04010 Maximising returns from water
VG04012 Hydroponic lettuce - root rot
VG04013 Brassica White Blister
VG04013 White Blister - Control Strategies
VG04013 White Blister - Race ID
VG04013 White Blister - Risk Forecasting
VG04013 White Blister - Symptoms
VG04013 White Blister - Workshop Notes
VG04014 Better Brassica
VG04014 better brassica - roadshow model
VG04014 better brassica - workshop notes
VG04014 Clubroot Guidebook
VG04014 Clubroot Poster
VG04015 Benchmarking water use
VG04016 Celery leaf blight - Poster
VG04016 Celery Septoria
VG04019 Nitrate & Nitrite in Leafy Veg
VG04021 Vegetable Seed Treatment
VG04025 Parsley Root Rot
VG04059 Diagnostic test kits
VG04061 White Blister - alternative controls
VG04061 White Blister - Workshop 2007
VG04062 Beetroot Study Tour
VG04067 IPM - Lettuce Aphid
VG05007 Onion White Rot - post plant fungicides
VG05008 IPM - Cultural Controls
VG05014 IPM - Native vegetation pt1
VG05044 IPM - Consultants Survey
VG05044 IPM - Grower Survey
VG05044 IPM - Lettuce Aphid Trials
VG05044 IPM - Lettuce Disease Poster
VG05044 IPM - Predatory Mites
VG05044 IPM - Project Summary
VG05045 Parsnip Canker
VG05051 Climate Change
VG05053 Rhubarb Viruses
VG05068 Baby Leaf Salad Crops
VG05073 Mechanical Harvesting
VG05090 Green Bean - Sclerotinia
VG05090 Rhizoctonia Groups
VG06014 Revegetation for thrip control
VG06024 IPM - Native vegetation pt2
VG06046 Parsley Root Rot
VG06047 Celery - Septoria Predictive Model
VG06066 LOTE Grower Communications
VG06086 IPM - Potential & Requirements
VG06087 IPM - Lettuce Aphid
VG06087 IPM - Toxicity testing
VG06088 IPM - Lettuce Aphid trials
VG06092 Pathogens - Gap Analysis
VG06092 Pathogens of Importance - poster
VG06140 Beetroot - colour quality
VG07010 Systemic aquired resistance
VG07015 Curcubit field guide
VG07070 Conference Notes 2008
VG07070 Foliar diseases
VG07070 Nitrogen & lettuce diseases
VG07070 Predicting Downy Mildew on Lettuce
VG07070 White Blister - Chinese Cabbage
VG07070 White Blister - Cultural Controls
VG07070 Workshop Notes - 2008
VG07070 Workshop Notes - 2010
VG07125 IPM - soilborne diseases
VG07126 Biofumigation oils for white rot
VG07126 New approaches to sclerotina
VG07127 White Blister - Alternative Controls
VG08020 Optimising water & nutrient use
VG08026 Pythium - field day
VG08026 Pythium - workshop 2010
VG08026 Pythium control strategies - overview
VG08107 - Carbon Footprint - workshop
VG08107 - Carbon Footprint part 1 - definitions
VG08107 - Carbon Footprint part 2 - issues
VG08107 - Carbon Footprint part 3 - calculators
VG08107 - Carbon Footprint part 4 - estimate
VG08107 - Carbon Footprint part 5 - users
VG08107 - Carbon Footprint part 6 - options
VG08426 Parsnip - Pythium Notes 2010
VG09086 Evaluation of Vegetable Washing
VG09159 Grower Study Tour- Spring Onions & Radish
VG96015 Carrot Crown Rot
VG96015 Carrot Defects - Poster
VG97042 Export - Burdock, Daikon and Shallots
VG97051 Pea - ascochyta rot
VG97064 Greenhouse Tomato and Capsicum
VG97084 Green Bean - white rot
VG97103 Celery Mosaic Virus
VG98011 Carrot - Cavity Spot
VG98048 Lettuce - Adapting to Change
VG98083 Lettuce - rots & browning
VG98085 GM Brassicas
VG98093 Microbial hazards - review
VG98093 Safe vegetable production
VG99005 Quality wash water
VG99008 Clubroot - rapid test
VG99016 Compost and Vegetable Production
VG99030 Globe Artichokes - value adding
VG99054 Onions - Theraputic Compounds
VG99057 Soil Health Indicators
VG99070 IPM - Celery
Victorian soil health
VN05010 Folicur - alternative carriers
VN05010 Onion White Rot - Fungicides
VN05010 Onion White Rot - summary
VX00012 Metalaxyl breakdown
VX99004 Clean & Safe Fresh Vegetables
Whitefly & Viruses
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VG99005 Quality wash water

Washing vegetables is an essential part of the postharvest treatment to remove soil adhering to root vegetables and to clean the product ready for sale.

It has been estimated that Australia-wide, the process requires 4.4 million megalitres of water annually.

Wash water reuse has the potential to significantly reduce the demand for water from our rivers and catchments and to alleviate water restrictions in our drier vegetable producing regions.

Saving water has a direct financial benefit to growers in lower water costs and in having the ability to utilise waste water for washing soil off product or for irrigation.

The re-use of waste water has not been widely practiced due to fears that the water could harm the crop by recirculating plant pathogens or because the water may be contaminated with agrochemicals or excessive salts.

This project examined the quality of water used for washing vegetables before and after the washing process and examined treatment methods aimed at improving water quality to a standard suitable for re-use on farm.

Martin Mebalds
Andrew Hamilton

Quality Wash Water for Carrots and Other Vegetables - 2002
Download 374kb

Summary :

  • This project has found that if basic precautions are adopted, waste water from vegetable washing sheds can be re-used, saving many millions of litres of water annually.

  • Very few growers are willing to re-use the water for fear that it may contain plant pathogens, human pathogens such as E. coli or significant residues of agrochemicals.

  • Growers are most concerned about the re-use of waste water used to remove soil from root crops as it is highly coloured and often produces foul odours.

  • Australia-wide surveys of vegetable farm waste-water derived from washing root crops showed that there were very few cases of excessive agrochemical residues but there was a slight increase in levels of plant pathogens, E. coli, nitrates and phosphorus.

  • The water was shown to be unsuitable for discharge into rivers and streams but could be treated economically and effectively on farm for re-use.

  • The most common agrochemical residues were residual pre-emergent herbicides. Consideration should be given to recent herbicide application history and if recent applications were made, then the water should be tested for herbicide residue concentrations.

  • In some instances, excessive linuron levels in waste water had the potential to harm sensitive crops.

  • A set of guidelines were developed to assist growers in designing effective waste water treatment systems to remove excess organic matter, plant and human pathogens and nutrients.

  • Safe re-use of waste water has the benefit of reducing farm costs and the requirement of water from rivers and bores.

  • A system of settling pits and ponds can adequately reduce excessive loads of organic matter provided that the capacity of the system can allow for a sufficient holding time to improve water quality.

  • However, some larger packing houses have insufficient holding capacity in their settling ponds to cope with the volumes of water used by the washing system.

  • The end result is thus little improvement of water quality after settlement pond treatment. Improvements in waste water treatment such as aeration and constructed wetland treatment may overcome the short-comings of existing water treatment methods for the removal of organic matter and nutrients.

  • If waste water is to be re-used to wash harvested crops, it should be disinfested considering it is highly likely to have elevated levels of human pathogens.

  • The waste water is highly coloured and so is unsuitable for disinfestation by UV light, however, micro-organisms in the water may be best controlled using chlorine dioxide, which works more effectively than other forms of chlorine treatments in water with high levels of organic matter.

Recommendations :

  • The project examined a range of existing water treatment strategies, as it was considered that an evaluation of the existing facilities has not been previously assessed.

  • Once treatment strategies have been examined and analysed, recommendations could be made to improve water treatment processes within the vegetable industry.

  • This approach has the best chance of adoption, as modifications of existing technologies are less expensive than installing new facilities.

  • The pond systems were shown to reduce organic matter content if they were not overloaded with large volumes of wash water, reducing hydraulic retention time.

  • The systems have a capability to reduce agrochemical concentrations in water however, in practice, there was little beneficial effect in existing systems when overloaded.

  • Further work needs to be undertaken in studying alternative and complimentary water treatment systems that may overcome current system inadequacies.

  • In particular, extra aeration of water in settling ponds, and the addition of subsurface or surface horizontal constructed wetlands similar to those developed by Headley et al. (2001), have the potential to further reduce nitrates, phosphates, agrochemical concentrations and coliform bacteria levels with minimal additional cost.

  • Further work on irrigation of crops with waste water over a period of years would help resolve the issue of cumulative effect of introduction of a range of pathogens at low concentration and plant disease development.

Acknowledgments :

This project was commissioned by Horticulture Australia Limited with funds frrom the Vegetable R&D levy and the Victorian State Government..

The Australian Government provides matched funding for all HAL's R&D activities.

Many growers supported the project but in particular we are indebted to Mr Rocky Lamatina who provided advice and support for the project in the development stage.

We acknowledge the support of Dr Elaine Davison for the provision of Pythium cultures and the identification of isolates from waste water.

Dr Davison and Dr Alan McKay also helped collecting water samples, arranged a grower's seminar in Perth and showed us carrot farms in the region.

We thank Fawzia Tawfik and Maresa Connell of the State Chemistry Laboratories, Werribee for her work on agrochemical detection in all water samples.

We acknowledge the work done by our collaborators in this national project. Their work was a key to the projects success.

The Industry Development Officers in each state contributed to the project, in particular Patrick Ulloa (Victoria) who helped with grower meetings and our technology transfer plan.

NSW Vegetable IDO Dr Alison Anderson assisted in planning the grower workshop in Cowra and provided transport from Sydney.

Craig Feutrill SA Vegetable IDO organised the Virginia grower workshop.

Judy Skilton, Executive Officer, Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers helped with the Bundaberg workshop.

SallyAnn Henderson provided transport and drove us to carrot growers along the Murray River from Swan Hill to Mildura.

Dr Alison Anderson, NSW vegetable IDO and Joe Napoli of the Lachlan Valley Horticultural Network helped to organised the Cowra workshop and Samantha Hertiage and Julia Telford vegetable JDOs for Queensland help organise the Bundaburg workshop.

The grower workshops were held in conjunction with a Mr Paul Harrup and Dr Robert Holmes who presented finding of their work on Clean and Safe Handling Systems for Vegetables and consequently, we shared the work load associated with the technology transfer package.

This project was largely dependant on the good will of the participating vegetable growers for access to farms and samples of their source and waste waters and to those that allowed detailed analysis of the performance of their waste water treatment systems.

We thank all participating growers, their participation was vital for the advancement of the industry through research and especially for the development of methods for the conservation of water within the vegetable industry.

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