New Film Increases California Strawberry Yields

University of California scientists have found that use of totally impermeable film in strawberry fields can improve the effectiveness of a widely-used methyl bromide alternative known as 1,3-D (1,3, dichloropropene). Use of the film reduces the amount of 1,3-D needed to maintain yields, while lowering field emissions overall.

Producing 85% of the nation’s strawberries, California growers urgently need alternatives to methyl bromide fumigation if they are to maintain yields. Methyl bromide has been phased out for all but critical uses because it depletes ozone in the upper atmosphere.

The strawberry industry is highly dependent on soil fumigation to control pests and maintain high yields. The methyl bromide alternative, 1,3-D, can be used only in certain quantities, due to air quality concerns.

In a recent trial, totally impermeable film (TIF) was laid out over Salinas fields to prevent the fumigant from leaking. The new film was compared with the standard film used by growers. Fumigant concentrations under TIF were 46% to 54% higher than under standard film, and the higher concentrations were correlated with higher strawberry yields and better weed control. Scientists report these findings in detail in the October–December 2011 electronic edition of the University of California’s California Agriculture.

Impermeable films have three benefits, according to lead author Steven Fennimore, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and weed scientist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences. The films trap the fumigant in the soil for a longer time and thereby increase its effectiveness; they reduce fumigant emissions, which after reacting with nitrogen oxides can convert to ground-level ozone; and they reduce the amount of fumigant needed for effective pest control.

Emissions are a huge concern. Methyl bromide, a widely used fumigant in combination with chloropicrin, has been phased out since 2005 because it is an ozone-depleting substance targeted by the Montreal Protocol (a global treaty to control ozone depletion) and the U.S. Clean Air Act. However, it is still being used in some California strawberry fields under a critical-use exemption. Restrictions on the use of 1,3-D to 90,250 pounds per 36-square-mile township (called the township cap) leave few other options for growers in key strawberry production areas near densely populated areas.

Comparing TIF with standard film, and methyl bromide plus chloropicrin with varying amounts of 1,3-D plus chloropicrin, the scientists rated the effectiveness of TIF. The results, states Fennimore, suggest that to achieve fruit yield and weed control similar to methyl bromide and chloropicrin, 33% less 1,3-D plus chloropicrin is needed under TIF than standard films.

TIF may ease some of the burdens of fumigant regulations on end-users, as well as ease concerns of the general public about exposure to fumigants, he concludes.

Source: California Agriculture.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

CEU SeriesCEU Series: Vow To Vanquish Weeds Among Vegetables
October 1, 2014
Herbicidal neglect can and will kill your crops. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateUF Names Interim Director For Citrus Research And Educa…
September 30, 2014
Michael Rogers has been a central figure in Florida’s battle to survive greening. Read More
BerriesPractice Persistence When Battling Botrytis In Blueberr…
September 30, 2014
Cognizance of resistance is key to managing formidable fungus. Read More
CitrusFarming Is Quite The Scary Prospect For Some [Opinion]
September 30, 2014
Florida Grower managing editor Paul Rusnak says economic realities might frighten off future leaders from noble professions. Read More
FruitsNew Suppress Herbicide Gets Green Light From EPA
September 30, 2014
Approval gives organic growers new weed management tool. Read More
BerriesNew Fill-By-Weight Clamshell Filler For Blueberries
September 30, 2014
Lakewood Process Machinery's equipment offers a simplified user interface, minimized drop heights, a new dribble-gate system designed for an increased level of accuracy. Read More
Stone FruitLarge Cherry Crop Expected In Washington
September 30, 2014
Approximately 23.5 million boxes of cherries were sold during season. Read More
LaborWestern Growers President Speaks Out About Passage Of C…
September 29, 2014
California Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a Senate Bill 25 and approved Assembly Bill 1897. Read More
BerriesDrought Could Impact Spring California Strawberry Crop
September 29, 2014
Ventura County expects reduction of acres planted as surface water availability takes a hit. Read More
Apples & PearsUnusual Weather Slows Michigan Apple Maturity
September 29, 2014
Fruit may have lower Brix levels, soluble solids lower than normal. Read More
BerriesFlorida Blueberry Growers Ready To Rise To The Occasion…
September 29, 2014
Florida Blueberry Growers Association president Dudley Calfee provides state of the industry insight. Read More
CitrusFlorida Announces Its 2014 Woman Of The Year In Agricul…
September 29, 2014
Longtime award recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s farming sector. Read More
FruitsNational Security May Depend On A Healthy Diet [Opinion…
September 29, 2014
Your bottom line as well as the future of our country will depend on promoting healthy eating to the next generation. Read More
CitrusFlorida Produce Industry Embracing Progress, Confrontin…
September 29, 2014
Production pressures and politics hot topics at FFVA’s 71st Annual Convention. Read More
BerriesDon’t Let Your Guard Slip When Taking On Thrips
September 27, 2014
Tiny insect pests can present big problems for blueberry growers. Read More
CitrusFlorida Farmers Finding Ways To Cultivate An Environmen…
September 26, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam salutes producers putting their best management practices forward. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Partner Wisely To Stay Afloat Amid WOTUS…
September 26, 2014
According to Florida Grower editor Frank Giles, the Clean Water Act is muddying waters for farmers. Read More
GrapesCalifornia Winegrape Industry Leaders Adapt To Drought
September 26, 2014
State’s players stand in good stead despite numerous challenges, surveys show. Read More