Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 13, 2004
Publication Date: December 10, 2005
Citation: Chellemi, D.O. 2005. Integrating soil disinfestation programs into crop production systems. Acta Horticulturae. Interpretive Summary: Successful integration of soil disinfestation programs into commercial horticultural production systems involves many aspects that extend far beyond standard efficacy studies conducted in laboratories or small research plots. An understanding of the entire pest complex and their associated ecology is essential to ensure the long-term stability of a disinfestation program. Familiarity with the economic, environmental, and social constraints confronting growers must be obtained before designing disinfestation procedures. Establishment of large-scale trials on commercial farms will identify technical or economic problems when procedures are implemented on a wide-scale and will enable growers and pest management professional to gain valuable experience and confidence in the implementation of alternatives. A multi-disciplinary program is recommended to insure that all aspects and outcomes from the implementation of soil disinfestation programs are considered. Detailed explanations of the various aspects for consideration are provided along with some examples of how they may be overcome. Two examples are provided illustrating the development and integration of soil disinfestation programs into fresh market tomato and pepper production systems as an alternative to soil fumigation with methyl bromide.
Technical Abstract: Additional factors extending far beyond the scope of standard pest control studies must be considered to ensure the successful integration of soil disinfestation programs into commercial crop production systems. Proper identification of pest complexes including the major, minor and sporadic pests and an understanding of their interrelationships with the surrounding environment and land management practices is critical. Where key information is lacking, research must be conducted and validated at both the laboratory and field level. Repeated field trials conducted at multiple locations are necessary to ensure the consideration of a range of biological, cultural environmental conditions. Implementation requires an understanding of the economic, environmental, logistical and political constraints confronting producers and the additional impositions created by adoption of soil disinfestation programs. Often ignored, the transfer of technology from research programs to commercial producers creates opportunities for the agricultural industry to obtain experience and confidence in implementing novel soil disinfestation programs. Examples from attempts to integrate soil disinfestation programs into commercial crop production systems are provided to illustrate the importance of the various additional factors.