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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Alternatives to MEBR for California Cropping Systems

Location: Water Management Research


item Gao, Suduan

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/20/2009
Publication Date: 2/3/2009
Citation: Gao, S. 2009. What to Consider when Emission Reduction is Required from Soil Fumigation. p. 49-55 In Proceedings, 2009 California Plant and Soil Conference, Fresno, CA, February 3 & 4, 2009.

Interpretive Summary: Emissions of alternative fumigants to methyl bromide have detrimental impacts on air quality by contributing volatile organic compounds. Fumigant use is highly regulated in California. This paper reviews and summarizes findings on field methods to minimize emissions from soil fumigation. These methods include application and surface treatment. Effectiveness of the methods on emission reduction, impact on pest control and cost are important factors to consider in determining their practicality. This paper provides current knowledge and information that are useful to commodities relying on soil fumigation, regulatory agencies, and science community.

Technical Abstract: Emission is one of the key factors affecting fumigant use in California due to regulations. Many commodities depend on pre-plant soil fumigation to achieve profitable yield and healthy crops. The phase-out of methyl bromide as a broad-spectrum soil fumigant in pest control has placed formidable challenges in searching alternatives. Most alternatives registered today are highly regulated because of their toxic properties and their nature as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Minimizing emissions is essential to maintain the practical use of fumigants. This paper reviews and summarizes findings towards field practices to minimize emissions from soil fumigation. The effectiveness on emission reduction, impact on pest control and cost are important factors to consider in determining emission reduction technique. High-value cash crops (e.g. strawberry) can afford using highly effective, but costly low permeable plastic mulches whereas crops with lower profit margins (e.g. stone fruit orchards) may need to consider lower cost methods such as water treatments and/or target-area fumigation. More stringent regulations on fumigants are likely to develop in the future. Continuous research is necessary to develop good fumigation practices in various agronomic systems to sustain agricultural production while minimizing potentially detrimental impact.

Last Modified: 07/21/2017
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