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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PACIFIC AREA-WIDE PEST MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR INTEGRATED METHYL BROMIDE ALTERNATIVES-ECONOMIC EVALUATION

Location: Crops Pathology and Genetics Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Conduct comprehensive, comparative cost-benefit analyses for pre-plant soil fumigation with methyl bromide (MB) and fumigant and non-fumigant alternatives to MB being tested in the Pacific Area-Wide Pest Management Program for Integrated Methyl Bromide Alternatives (PAW-MBA) for almonds and stone fruits, walnuts, grapes, sweetpotato, and cut flowers. 2. Predict the economic impact of adoption of alternatives to methyl bromide on California growers of each commodity taking into account the pest management costs and any changes in efficacy. 3. Extend the results of Objectives 1 and 2 to stakeholders.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Objective 1-An economic component will be expanded for the Pacific Area-Wide Pest Management Program for Integrated Methyl Bromide Alternatives (PAW-MBA) for almonds and stone fruits, walnuts, grapes, sweetpotato, and cut flowers. For each of these projects the Principal Investigator will tabulate/calculate the costs of pre-plant treatments with methyl bromide and all fumigant and non-fumigant alternatives to methyl bromide being tested in the projects. In addition, the yield data or estimated yield data from the projects will be used to calculate the expected gross income for each of the treatments under consideration. The costs and income will be compared to examine the economics of the alternatives. In order to complete comprehensive and up-to-date economic analyses of the fumigant and non-fumigant alternatives to methyl bromide, PI Klonsky will convene and communicate with the PAW-MBA project leaders for almonds and stone fruits, walnuts, grapes, sweetpotato, and cut flowers; commercial fumigant suppliers and applicators; additional specialists for the crops covered; and regulatory personnel. Economic analysis of the alternative treatments will include average market prices for each commodity and location. The analysis will take any differences in efficacy into account and estimate the impact on gross income from changes in yields and quality over time. “Breakeven” yields and prices will be calculated for cases where there is a significant yield reduction from switching to an alternative to methyl bromide. Objective 2-Results of the analyses conducted under objective 1 will be used to predict the economic impact of adoption of the fumigant and non-fumigant alternatives to MB on California growers of the commodities covered by this project. Objective 3-Results from objectives 1 and 2 will be extended to stakeholders by oral and written presentations at the Annual International Research Conference for Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reductions, indoor and field meetings for growers and other stakeholders sponsored UC Cooperative Extension, popular and peer-reviewed publications, and preparation of graphical and written summaries appropriate for PAW-MBA website outreach.


3.Progress Report:

This Specific Cooperative Agreement was established in support of objective 2 of the in-house project, which is to conduct comprehensive assessments of alternatives to methyl bromide (MB) in key crop systems and regions dependent upon MB. The goal of this project is to determine the economic impact of adoption of alternatives to MB on California growers taking into account the pest management costs & any changes in efficacy.

Nine baseline cost and returns studies were updated for the commodities under consideration including almonds, walnuts, grapes, and strawberries. The studies include winegrapes for the Sacramento Valley, Lodi District and Napa; walnuts for the San Joaquin Valley north and the North Coast; almonds for the Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Valley north, and strawberries for the Central Coast, South Coast (San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties ) and Ventura County. Each of these studies includes detailed farming operations and associated inputs (equipment, labor, and materials) as well as expected yields and gross income. Analyses for peaches, flowers and sweetpotato have been completed for previous years of the research project. An update of the sweetpotato study is underway. An economic analysis was completed for the almond replant trials in Firebaugh and Madera and peaches near Parlier. In all trials alternatives to methyl bromide and reduced area treatments outperformed the methyl bromide treatments. The annual and cumulative net returns were calculated based on the trial yields and the costs and prices from the cost and return studies. In addition, the annual and cumulative net dollar gains per pound of fumigant were calculated. For almond replants in Firebaugh, the net returns to methyl bromide were negative because of the high cost of the fumigation. The chloropicrin strip fumigation with the low rate showed the highest net return and highest efficiency per pound of fumigant followed by the chloropicrin spot spray. In the Madera almond trial, methyl bromide also showed negative returns. The chloropicrin spot spray showed the highest net returns and was the most efficient. For the peach replant trial, net revenue gain was calculated at four peach prices and the efficiency was calculated for the highest and lowest peach prices. All treatments showed positive net returns except for methyl bromide at the lowest peach price. 1-3-D and chloropicrin spot spray showed the highest net returns and efficiency followed by the chloropicrin spot spray.

For strawberries, several nonfumigant alternatives were compared to fumigation. These included mustard as a preplant, steam treatment of the soil, anaerobic soil disinfestation, and several combinations of the three alternatives. In all cases, the alternative treatments showed a higher cost than fumigation, particularly the steam treatment. The net returns were comparable except for the mustard alone that showed the lowest net return.


Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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