Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Adoption of Methyl Bromide Alternatives by California Strawberry Growers

Authors
item Trout, Thomas
item Damodaran, Nimmi - STRATUS CONSULTING

Submitted to: Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2004
Publication Date: November 2, 2004
Citation: Trout, T.J., Damodaran, N. 2004. Adoption of methyl bromide alternatives by california strawberry growers. Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Research Conference Proceedings, pp 35-1-4.

Interpretive Summary: Nearly all 30,000 acres planted to strawberries in CA is fumigated before each crop to control soil-born pests. In 2002, over half of the total use of methyl bromide in CA. was for this crop. With the 2005 phaseout of methyl bromide, growers are adopting alternative fumigants, but are also requesting critical use exemption to continue using the product. The most commonly adopted alternatives are 1,3-D and chloropicrin applied to mulched planting beds through the drip irrigation system. Use of these alternatives has increased from near 0 in 2000, to 12% of acreage in 2001, 18% in 2002, and 25% in 2003; and is expected to exceed 30% in 2004. Use rates have also decreased over 15%. However, during this time, planted area has also increased about 25%, resulting in only a small decrease in methyl bromide use. Growers prefer to use methyl bromide if they are planting on a new field where they don't know the pest pressures or on fields where pest pressures are known to be high. They also would like to have methyl bromide available in case the alternatives lose efficacy with time. Growers that target a long production season and maximum yields are also reluctant to use alternatives. Growers adopt alternatives when they target early yields, have adequate time to apply alternatives, if they prefer drip application and bed fumigation, and to save money. Adoption of alternatives will continue to increase in CA strawberries, but growers would prefer to maintain some access to this critical pest management tool.

Technical Abstract: Methyl bromide is scheduled to be phased out at the end of 2005. Strawberry growers are adopting alternative fumigants, but are also requesting critical use exemption to continue using the product. Nearly all 30,000 acres planted to strawberries in CA is fumigated before each crop to control soil-born pests. In 2002, over half of the total use of methyl bromide in CA. was for this crop. The most commonly adopted alternatives are 1,3-D (Telone) and chloropicrin applied to mulched planting beds through the drip irrigation system. Methyl bromide use rates have decreased by about 15% since 1999, and the use of these alternatives has increased from near 0 in 2000, to 12% of acreage in 2001, 18% in 2002, and 25% in 2003; and is expected to exceed 30% in 2004. However, during this time, planted area has also increased about 25%, resulting in only a small decrease in methyl bromide use. Several factors affect whether a strawberry grower chooses to use alternative fumigants. Most growers would like to have methyl bromide available in case the alternatives lose efficacy with time and many prefer to use methyl bromide if they are planting on a new field where they don't know the pest pressures or on fields where pest pressures are known to be high. Growers that target a long production season and maximum yields are also reluctant to use alternatives. Growers adopt alternatives when they target early yields, have adequate time to apply alternatives, if they prefer drip application and bed fumigation, and to save money.

Last Modified: 12/28/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page