Defense Against Radioactive Fallout on Livestock and Crops

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 03/16/2011 - 9:00pm.

 

fallout.on.the.farm

The following for farmers and ranchers, from the old USDA county defense boards, should help dispel some of the potential panic. Old fashioned from the early 1960's, but physics and tactics of radiation and fallout protection are timeless. ~ Shane Connor

This guidance assumed nuclear explosion(s) and heavy fallout originating right here in the USA. Fallout originating from far overseas would be many magnitudes less dangerous, but the following is still very informative regarding the threat to, and vulnerability of, different livestock and crops that we all rely upon in the food chain.

References to radioiodine below have been highlighted in green.


PROTECTING LIVESTOCK


* How will fallout affect unprotected livestock, that is, animals in fields, postures, and other open areas?...

Fallout may be dangerous to cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, and other livestock as well as to human beings. Radioactive materials in fresh fallout can contaminate the immediate environment and give off rays that can penetrate deep into the body.

This is the major source of danger for livestock. Animals can also suffer skin burns if fallout settles in the coat. Skin burns could produce considerable discomfort, but would not endanger the lives of the animals.

Animals are about as sensitive to radiation damage as human beings; to survive, animals need the same protection as human beings.

When livestock must graze on fallout-contaminated pasture, supplemental feeding from non-contaminated forage can materially reduce the daily dose of radioactive material the animals will eat.

Stored or stacked hay, ensilage from either silo or trench, and stored grain are safe supplemental feeds when they are protected from fallout contamination.

When no shelter is available and when the level of radiation is only moderate, or food resources are scant, growers should, if possible, supply supplemental feeding and limit the grazing time.

When meat and dairy animals eat contaminated feed, some radioactive elements are absorbed into their bodies. Thus, man's food supply of animal products can become contaminated with radioactivity.


* How will fallout affect sheltered livestock?...

Livestock housed in barns and other farm buildings during fallout have a better chance of surviving effects of radiation than those that are not sheltered. A reasonably well-built shelter reduces intensity of external radiation and prevents fallout from settling on the animals' bodies. It also prevents animals from eating contaminated feed.


* What Is the best way to protect livestock from fallout?...

Move them indoors as soon as possible. If you do not have adequate facilities to house all animals, put some of them near farm buildings or in a small dry lot. Under these conditions the amount of space per animal in a barn should be reduced to the point of overcrowding.

The limiting factor is ventilation and not space. The advantage is that the animals tend to shield each other enough that more will survive under crowded conditions than under normal housing. Large, protected self-feeders and automatic live-stock waterers can supply uncontaminated feed and water.

Areas within movable fences, and other small fenced areas that have covered feeders or self-feeders, can provide emergency confinement for farm animals after early external radiation intensity has decreased through decay.

Empty trench silos can be converted to livestock shelters by constructing a roof over the trench and covering it with earth.

Once fallout occurs, you should not attempt to protect livestock unless local civil defense authorities tell you that you will be safe when doing so.

Get your dairy cattle under cover first.

 

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What water can I give livestock after fallout?...

Water from a covered well, tank, or cistern, or from a freely running spring, is best. River water or pond water is less safe, but if necessary, it could be used after fallout has occurred. In a few days it would be safe. If, however, it should rain during this time, livestock should not be permitted access to pond water for an additional few days.

Usually, fallout particles would settle promptly and soluble radioactive materials would diffuse in the water, reducing the contamination at the surface. If the water was constantly replenished from an uncontaminated source, radioactivity would be diluted rapidly.

To prevent contamination from fallout, do not add water to covered tanks unless the water is from a protected well or spring; first use the water originally present in the tanks.


* Could I use water in an exposed pond?...

Water in an exposed pond would be contaminated, but usually the level of contamination would decrease rapidly. Such water could be used for surface irrigation. It could also he used to wash off farm buildings and unsheltered livestock. Obtain drinking water for livestock from another source if possible.


* What feed can I give livestock after fallout?...

To protect feed adequately, cover it. Fallout is like dust or dirt; a cover will prevent it from coming in contact or mixing with the feed.

Grain stored in a permanent bin, hay in a barn, and ensilage in a covered silo are adequately protected. They can be used as soon as it is safe to get to them following fallout.

A haystack in an open field can be protected with a tarpaulin or similar covering.

If possible, give your livestock feed that does not contain fallout material. Fallout particles that settle on hay, silage, or a stack of feedbags will contaminate only the outer parts. You can remove the outer layers or bags, and use the inside feed that is unaffected.

You will be notified if local civil defense and agricultural authorities who measure concentrations of fallout consider the forage growing in your area is harmful. However, this advice might come too late in heavily contaminated areas. As a precautionary measure, house the livestock and do not let them graze.

You may have to give cows contaminated feed if no other feed is available. The milk from these cows should not be used by children, but when the cows are back on clean feed, the amount of radioactive material in their milk will progressively diminish. 

 

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* What can I do with contaminated feed?...

How long feed should be stored depends on the type and concentration of the radioactive materials. If you have an alternate supply, do not use contaminated feed until told by authorities that it is safe to do so; then be sure to follow the precautions they may recommend.

** Should dairy cows receive special treatment?

Yes. Because radioactive materials can be transferred to milk, which will be a critical product during an emergency, make a special effort to protect cows from fallout.

Remove milking cows from pasture and feed them stored rations during the period of fresh fallout and for several weeks after. In this way, you will prevent iodine 131 from occurring in the milk, or reduce it to insignificant levels.

Give cows preferred shelter and clean feed and water. If you can, milk them before fallout occurs; you may not be able to do so for several days afterward.

If you have calves on the farm turn them in with the cows. This will help prevent mastitis and conserve all the feed for the cows. Reduce amounts of water and concentrated feed to maintenance levels. 

Construction plans are available through State extension agricultural engineers for a combination dairy barn and family fallout shelter. Although construction of this type is costly, such a facility might be considered for the protection of highly valued breeding stock.

The plans are designed in accordance with milk production ordinances.

They provide for...


(1) a year-round production Unit that requires minimum change for emergency use,

(2) a built-in family fallout protection area that allows the operator to care for animals during a fallout emergency,

(3) all stored feed that is manually accessible to be inside the barn,

(4) stored hay and straw for use as shielding,

(5) temporary housing, feed, and water for other livestock,

(6) an auxiliary generator for assuring electric power, and

(7) a water supply inside the barn.


* What measures should be taken to protect poultry?...

Measures for protecting poultry are the same as those recommended for other farm animals.

Poultry are somewhat more resistant to radiation than other farm animals. Since most poultry are raised under shelter and given feed that has been protected or stored, and since poultry can be grown rapidly, they are one of the more dependable sources of fresh foods of animal origin that may be available following a nuclear attack.

Hens that eat contaminated feed will produce eggs that contain some radioactive elements. Radioactivity in eggs decreases shortly after the hens are removed from the contaminated environment and given uncontaminated feed and water.


** What animal food products are safe to market after fallout?...

You will receive specific instructions from local civil defense authorities based on the amount of fallout received. Do not destroy any animal food products unless spoilage has made them inedible.

Milk should be safe to use if it is from cows that are adequately sheltered and protected and are fed rations of stored and protected feed and water.

Milk from a fallout area where cows are not adequately protected or fed stored feed should not be given to children until civil defense authorities approve.

Milk contaminated with iodine 131 can be processed into butter, cheese, and powdered or canned milk, and stored for a period of time to allow the radioactivity to decay. 

Food animals whose bodies have been exposed to external radiation can be used for food if they are slaughtered before the onset of signs of radiation sickness. Also, they can be used after they have recovered from the ensuing illness.

The same rules that govern the slaughter of animals sick from any cause should be followed. Care must be taken to prevent edible parts of the carcass from being contaminated by radioactive materials contained on the hide and in the digestive system.


* What do I do if animals die from fallout radiation?...

Some of your animals may be affected so severely by radiation from fresh fallout that they will die in a few days or weeks after being exposed. Do not slaughter any of your livestock unless you are told to do so by local civil defense authorities or USDA county defense boards.

Bury animals that die. These carcasses usually are not dangerous to surviving people or animals by the time it is safe to work outside.


* Is it possible to decontaminate livestock and farm buildings that have been exposed to fallout?...

If there is fallout on the animals' skins, the radioactive material can be washed off with water. It is not necessary to use clean water sources for this purpose. Take care to avoid contamination runoff.

Civil defense authorities or USDA county defense boards may advise you on decontamination procedures for your farm buildings. In handling animals, wear coveralls, gloves, and boots to prevent contaminating yourself.

Cleaning or disinfecting buildings will not destroy radioactivity. However, cleaning can be useful in moving radioactive materials to a place where radiation will be less harmful. In cleaning, be careful to avoid contaminating yourself.


PROTECTING LAND AND CROPS


* What are the main consequences of heavy concentration of fallout on crop and pasture lands?...

 

~ Farm workers may not be able to manage and cultivate land safely for some time, because of radiation hazard.

~ It may not be advisable to permit animals to graze, because of the danger of radiation.

~ Fresh fallout would provide surface contamination on all plants, resulting in potential hazard to human beings and animals consuming them.

~ Radiation from fallout deposited on the leaves or the ground may damage the crop.


* How long would fallout affect cultivated and non-cultivated lands?...

It would depend on the abundance and type of radioactive materials in a given area. In the event of nuclear attack, radioactive iodine would be the most critical single factor in the contamination of milk during the first few weeks.

After the first 60 days, the principal hazard would arise from strontium 89 and strontium 90. Strontium 89, however, will have virtually disappeared 17 months after its formation.

Like other radioactive isotopes of fallout, strontium 90 falls on the surface of plants and can be consumed with foods and forage. Some of it is deposited directly on the soil or washed into it, remaining indefinitely, for all practical purposes, in the top several inches of uncultivated land.

Because it is chemically similar to calcium, radioactive strontium would be absorbed by all plants. Plants growing in soils deficient in calcium would absorb more radioactive strontium than those growing in soils abundant in calcium, other conditions being equal.


* Are there soil treatments for reducing the fallout hazard on land?...

Yes, but soil treatments should be given only after responsible authorities have carefully evaluated the situation and declared a state of emergency. The most effective treatment could be costly, and suitable only for intensively used land.

Other methods involve changes in generally accepted farm practices. Some measures could be simply an improvement over local conditions and procedures. For example, liming of acid soils could reduce the uptake of radioactive strontium in crops grown on those soils.

USDA soil scientists in the USDA county defense boards will provide guidance to farmers in determining best utilization of their land following nuclear attack.

Any use of the land must wait until external radiation levels are low enough for persons to work safely outdoors.


* Would fallout permanently affect pasture grass and forage crops?...

If fallout is extremely light, the pasture would be usable immediately. It is difficult to set an exact external dose rate at which it would be safe to return the animals to pasture, but if the dose for the first week of stay did not exceed 25 roentgens all animals would survive and could be handled with safety.

If fallout is heavy, external radiation would prohibit use of the pasture. A heavy deposit of fallout would spread short-lived and long-lived radioactive particles on the pasture and forage crops. Radiation might cause visible injury to plants. Some plants might die.

Existing growths of alfalfa and other forage crops might not be usable because of radiation hazard.

If a radiation survey should indicate that contamination level is high, existing growth should be removed as close to the ground as possible and discarded; succeeding growths should be used only after examination for radioactivity.

If the soil is acid, a top-dressing of lime would help reduce uptake of radioactive strontium in succeeding growths.

Livestock could be allowed to graze on lightly contaminated pasture after a waiting period that varies from one to a few weeks, the length of time depending on the degree of contamination.

Once it is safe to work the land, a periodic check on pasture and produce in affected areas would provide the best safety guide to their use.


* Would fallout affect my system of farming?...

It could. Seriously contaminated land may need to lie fallow for as long as a season. After this, fallout may require a change to non-food crops or to food crops that do not absorb large amounts of radioactive materials from the soil.

Alfalfa, clover, soybeans, and leafy vegetables have a greater tendency to absorb long-lived radioactive strontium than cereal grains, grasses, corn, potatoes, and fruits. Guidance on suggested crops to plant will come from USDA county defense boards.


* Would fallout reduce economic productivity of crop and pasture lands?...

Fallout might reduce such productivity in several ways...


(1) Crop and soil management could be impeded because of danger from external radiation;

(2) some crops might be killed by contamination;

(3) other crops might become contaminated to a degree where they would be unmarketable; and

(4) economic value of food grown on contaminated land might be less than that of other competitive crops.


* What are the effects of fallout on growing vegetables?...

Growing vegetables that are exposed to heavy fallout may become highly contaminated. Leaves, pods, and fruits that retain fallout material should be cleaned before being eaten.

Washing is probably the most effective measure, just as it is the best way to clean garden foods that get dirty from any other cause. Radiation from heavy fallout may affect plant growth.

Roots and tubers absorb little contamination from fallout before it is mixed with the soil. The normal cleaning or peeling of underground vegetables such as potatoes or carrots would be adequate for removing fallout.


* What are the effects of fallout on fruits?...

If fallout is heavy, ripe fruits may be lost because of the personal hazard involved in harvesting them. Fruits that do not have to be picked immediately can be saved. They should be washed before they are eaten.


* Would fallout limit use of plants for human food?...

It depends on the extent of radioactivity. Leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, should not be eaten unless they are thoroughly washed, or are known to be free of hazardous amounts of radioactive materials.


* What special precautions should be taken for workers in the fields?...

You should remain indoors until danger from fallout has diminished and you have learned from local officials that it is all right to work outdoors.


EMERGENCY DEFENSE SERVICES


By order of the President, the Secretary of Agriculture has put into effect defense services to protect farmer; their families, their livestock, and their agricultural productivity in event of a national emergency. The wide scope of these services enables them to function at all levels, national, State, county, and farm.


* County Defense Boards...

In preparing for a national emergency, the farmer may obtain guidance and assistance from his USDA county defense board. More than 3,000 of these boards are operating throughout the Nation. The USDA county defense boards receive direction from USDA State defense boards.

A USDA county defense board is composed of key USDA representatives in the county. The county office manager of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service usually serves as chairman.

Other board members may include representatives of the Cooperative Extension Service, the Farmers Home Administration, and the Soil Conservation Service. Representatives of the Forest Service, the Agricultural Research Service, and the Consumer and Marketing Service, where available, are also members of the board.

Each USDA county defense board is equipped to serve the farmer in many ways. In most counties, the board chairman is responsible for food production programs.

He will see that guidance is available in emergency farming practices and in conserving farm equipment, fuel, and manpower; he also will help obtain essential services or material.

The Soil Conservation Service member of the board will advise and assist in the proper use of land and water; and the Farmers Home Administration member will help the farmer in credit problems that may arise.

The county extension agent will provide education on survival practices and protective measures for the farmer, his family, and his livestock.

The board chairman, or one of the board members, will advise farmers regarding other programs of USDA agencies that are not represented on the board. This might include, for example, assistance in protection of livestock and crops against the spread of disease or rural fire defense.

Generally, the board chairman is responsible for USDA programs relating to food processing, storage, and distribution.

USDA county defense boards will work closely with and support county authorities. Farmers can look to their local county civil defense officials as well as USDA county defense boards for guidance in national emergency programs.


* Radiological Monitoring...

Radiological monitoring is measurement of the levels of exposure by radiation present in nuclear fallout. Special instruments and people trained in their use are required for this work.

Monitoring services would be needed in the early period following a nuclear attack to determine intensity of radiation on the farm. If this intensity were high, monitoring services would be needed later to determine when farming activities should be resumed.

Examples of this monitoring service are detection and measurement of radiological contamination of farmlands, harvestable crops, forest land, and water and protection and handling of farm animals.

State and local governments are responsible for establishing comprehensive radiological monitoring systems in inhabited and habitable areas to measure and report radiation intensities. This monitoring provides the basis for survival and recovery.

USDA is directly responsible for certain specialized monitoring...


~ At major meat and poultry inspection installations.

~ Of forest lands, agricultural lands, and water.

~ Of federally owned stored food.


One or more USDA monitoring stations are established in each county in the United States. They provide capability to perform monitoring assigned to USDA, and they will also supply part of the radiological information needed for planning and directing local survival and recovery operations.

Office of Civil Defense guidance and the USDA Radiological Monitoring Handbook provide details for the necessary coordinated effort at the county level.

Simply stated, county civil defense and the USDA county defense boards are responsible for joint planning and post attack advice to the farm population on precautions to take to minimize radiation exposures associated with farm work; county civil defense is responsible for most of the monitoring, reporting, and analysis of the data; and the USDA county defense board applies USDA guidance adjusted to local conditions in recommending appropriate...


~ Care or disposition of livestock.

~ Use of agricultural lands and water.

~ Use or disposition of agricultural commodities.


If you have a question about the detection of harmful radiation, you should contact your local civil defense official or the chairman of your USDA county defense board.


* Bottom Line...

Unfortunately, the federal government does not have large stocks of emergency KI tablets, nor is it likely what they do have can be gotten where it's needed and then to those who need it… in-time.

Also, they no longer support nuclear Civil Defense training of the public, the USDA county defense boards, or county level radiation monitoring networks and fallout shelters*, as they once did during the heights of the Cold War, and thus American families are largely on their own today to find this important guidance and make their own preparations.


For this reason, we've produced both our myth-busting expose…

The Good News About Nuclear Destruction! at http://www.ki4u.com/goodnews.htm

…and our popular & essential family guide for…

What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent! at http://www.ki4u.com/guide.htm


Pass copies of them, along with this "˜When An Ill Wind Blows From Afar!' guide to friends, neighbors, relatives, fellow workers, churches and community organizations with a brief note attached saying simply: "We hope/pray we never need this, but just-in-case, keep it handy!"

Few nowadays will find that approach alarmist and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how many are truly grateful.

Everyone should also forward copies of them to their local, state and federal elected representatives, as well as your own communities first-responders and local media, all to help spread this good news that's liberating fellow American families from their paralyzing and potentially fatal myths of nuclear un-survivability!


Shane Connor - March 14, 2011 - PakAlertPress


* There is one county in America that has, on their own, re-instituted their public fallout shelters and local radiation monitoring network.

Madison County - Huntsville, Alabama, home of our nations rocket scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. See more about their efforts here.

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 03/16/2011 - 9:00pm.