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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: TRANSITIONAL ACTIVITIES TO FACILITATE THE ADOPTION OF ALT. TO METHYL BROMIDE IN THE PRODUCTION OF LOBLOLLY PINE SEEDLINGS IN THE SOUTHERN US
2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Conduct large-scale replicated trials in nurseries across the southern United States to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of methyl bromide alternatives in the production of loblolly pine seedlings.

2. Develop, adopt, and use training materials and conduct educational programs based on outcomes of the Area-Wide demonstration trials and in accordance with the new fumigation regulations established by the USEPA Fumigant Re-registration Eligibility Decision.

3. Conduct economic analysis on assimilated data emerging from Area-Wide field demonstration trials and assess the economic impacts of new fumigation regulations.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Continue data collection and assessment of the performance of methyl bromide alternatives implemented in large-scale field demonstration trials conducted across the southeast including pest and disease assessment and determination of the impacts on marketable yield of loblolly seedlings. Training modules for grower and applicator compliance with the newly issued USEPA Fumigant Re-registration Eligibility Decision being currently under development in Florida will be adapted for use by growers, applicators and state regulators in states belonging to the Southern Forest Nursery Management Cooperative. Additional training materials will be developed as needed and deployed at local and regional stakeholder workshops and extension meetings. Data generated from Area-Wide funded large scale on-farm research trials will be standardized and then analyzed in an economic analysis to provide economic decision tools for growers/stakeholders. Work will be initiated to develop the mechanisms needed for providing an economic analysis on the new fumigation regulations as they impact growers in the southeast.


3.Progress Report:

This research related to inhouse objective: The overall goals of the program will be to establish and implement an areawide pest management research and action program for methyl bromide (MB) alternatives.

Over the course of 3 years, 7 different soil fumigants were tested using 7 different rates, under 4 different plastic types in 36 different experimental trials in 6 forest-tree nurseries in 3 southern states. By far the best MBr alternatives tested were Pic+, Chloropicrin, Chlor 60, and DMDS/Chloropicrin mixtures. This is based on seedling quality data, seedling root morphology, soilborne pathogen control and minimal nematode and weed pressures. Of those soil fumigants tested, Midas® (methyl iodide and chloropicrin), was removed from the US market by its’ distributor due to market and environmental concerns. New Pic+ (chloropicrin and solvent) was tested only once as this compound did not control weeds that became an issue in production quality. Chlor 60 (60% chloropicrin and 40% 1,3-dichloropropene) performed comparatively well to MBr. However, nutsedge control with this compound is lacking and nursery managers may choose this alternative if soilborne nematodes are more of a problem than nutsedge. The unpleasant odor of DMDS (dimethyl disulfide) may limit this compounds acceptance as an MBr alternative by some nursery managers even though it consistently perfomed well. As far as application rates under the 2012 soil fumigant REDs, a good starting point with high barrier plastics (TIF & VIF) in broadcast applications would be: New Rate with VIF or TIF = One half of Old Rate under HDPE or LDPE. Also, an MBr alternative becomes more effective when chloropicrin (>20%) is included. For example DMDS & Chloropicrin (Paladin®) performed better than DMDS alone and Telone & Chloropicrin (Chlor 60) performs better than Telone alone. The final decision when selecting an MBr alternative needs to take into consideration the ability of the soil fumigant to work under individual nursery soil conditions and the impact of the new soil fumigation rules have on each individual nursery. Any choice of current alternatives will likely require an increased use of pesticides to compensate for alternative short falls. Nearly all alternative research has been done on land that has been fumigated with methyl bromide exclusively. Therefore, the long term effects of the best alternatives are unknown. In addition, an alternative that works well in one nursery may not be as effective in another nursery. While none of these soil fumigants are the perfect replacement, seedling production is still possible without MBr if compounds such as chloropicrin are used and the reduced rates of 250 and 168 kg/ha under high barrier plastics such as TIF or VIF.


Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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