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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: FIELD EVALUATION OF BROAD-SPECTRUM, NON-FUMIGANT PEST CONTROL FOR VEGETABLE AND STRAWBERRY PRODUCTION IN FLORIDA

Location: Subtropical Plant Pathology Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To establish the effective rates of a novel, chemical, non-fumigant methyl bromide alternative, establish crop sensitivity to the material, determine optimal application method, and potential worker safety requirements.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Research sites in Florida will be established at two locations that have adequate pest pressure to evaluate the spectrum of activity of the experimental material applied under a typical production system for each selected crop. The first two studies to be implemented will be in the raised-bed vegetable and strawberry production system. The strawberry trial will include seven treatments: Untreated Check, four rates of the experimental material, MeBr (as the standard), and the best non-chemical standard developed in a recently completed project. In the vegetable trial, to be conducted at the USDA, ARS Research Farm in Fort Pierce, FL, the experiment will be conducted as split plot design with all treatments consisting of 100’ of treated bed with the split consisting of application method. Treatments will be replicated four times and main plots will be arranged as a randomized complete block design. The MeBr application for the vegetable trial will be shank applied at bed formation. All treatments will be covered with Canslit brand metalized film to assist with whitefly control. In the strawberry trial, to be conducted at the strawberry research farm in Dover, FL experimental treatments will be applied in paired plots with the MeBr treatment. In the second year of the project, both of the previous trials will be repeated. Also in the second year of the project, extension personnel and growers will be invited to field day presentations to share the current progress.

Nematode, weed, and fungal populations at each field site and for each year will be assessed prior to treatment, immediately following treatment prior to crop establishment, at mid-season of the crop, and at the initiation of harvest.


3.Progress Report

This project is related to in-house objective 1: Identify impact of pest management tactics on functional diversity of soil microflora and weed populations, their competitive interactions, and effects on crop health.

The goal of the project is to advance the development of a novel material, which has potential to control the same spectrum of pests as methyl bromide (MeBr), but has none of the negative characteristics of MeBr, or other alternative fumigants. The experimental material can provide broad spectrum pest control in crops produced in close proximity to urban areas with none of the concerns associated with other fumigants. Patent applications have been filed for the material. Data from laboratory, greenhouse, and microplot trials have been positive for control of important pests in Florida production systems. Extremely low quantities of active ingredient resulted in complete control of root-knot nematode eggs and juveniles. Weed control in microplots has been accomplished with solutions containing less than 10% active ingredient. Purple and yellow nutsedge and soilborne plant pathogens can also be controlled with this material. Laboratory trials have been conducted with positive results for more than 10 different fungal plant pathogens. Phytophthora capsici, a major limitation to production of bell peppers and cucurbits in Florida, was completely controlled in microplot trials.


Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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