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
Crop ProtectionAt Paramount Farming, Mating Disruption Pays Off
February 10, 2015
To say Brad Higbee is an expert in mating disruption, the use of pheromones to confuse target pests and reduce Read More
Crop ProtectionGrower Experienced In Biocontrols Says: Be Patient
February 4, 2015
The use of biocontrols in all aspects of agriculture is becoming more widespread. But incorporating biocontrols in a vegetable farming Read More
FNV logo
CitrusPMA Announces Funding For Major Produce Marketing Program
February 26, 2015
The produce industry is getting into brand marketing in a big way. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign - FNV - designed to take a page from the marketing strategies of big-money consumer brands like Nike and Apple. Read More
GrapesWashington Winegrape Industry Announces Honors
February 26, 2015
Awards included Grower of the Year, Industry Service, Lifetime Achievement, Restaurant of the Year and Posters. Read More
GrapesSonoma Agriculture Preservation Plan Unveiled
February 26, 2015
Winegrowers’ 100-year business plan is the first of its kind in agriculture. Read More
Apples & PearsNew Plant Growth Regulator Use Expanded
February 26, 2015
Ten more states grant registrations for Fine Americas’ new Kudos PGR. Read More
Apples & PearsFrom The Road: IFTA Conference Day 5
February 26, 2015
Carlson lecture highlights where IFTA has been and looks to the next generation to continue the legacy. Read More
FruitsHave Faith In Science – Which Means GMOs [Opinion]
February 25, 2015
When it comes to farming, sticking with established, commonly accepted science is the way to go. Read More
Apples & PearsFrom The Road: IFTA Conference Day 4
February 25, 2015
Creating fruiting walls with mechanical hedgers can help increase light interception in the canopy, say researchers and growers. Read More
PotatoesPotato Grower Black Gold Farms Aquires George Wood Farms In North Carolina
February 25, 2015
The transaction includes all production and packing operations.   Read More
Stone FruitSouth Carolina Peach Grower Honored For Produce Innovation
February 25, 2015
Chalmers R. Carr III receives the inaugural Bayer CropScience Produce Innovation Award for focusing on quality, accessibility, and demand. Read More
Food Safety“Dirty Dozen” List Authors Say Conventionally Grown Produce Are “Best Foods” 
February 25, 2015
Sound science prevails and consumers are encouraged to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Read More
The Latest
FNV logo
CitrusPMA Announces Funding For Major Produce Marketing Progr…
February 26, 2015
The produce industry is getting into brand marketing in a big way. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign - FNV - designed to take a page from the marketing strategies of big-money consumer brands like Nike and Apple. Read More
GrapesWashington Winegrape Industry Announces Honors
February 26, 2015
Awards included Grower of the Year, Industry Service, Lifetime Achievement, Restaurant of the Year and Posters. Read More
GrapesSonoma Agriculture Preservation Plan Unveiled
February 26, 2015
Winegrowers’ 100-year business plan is the first of its kind in agriculture. Read More
Apples & PearsNew Plant Growth Regulator Use Expanded
February 26, 2015
Ten more states grant registrations for Fine Americas’ new Kudos PGR. Read More
Apples & PearsFrom The Road: IFTA Conference Day 5
February 26, 2015
Carlson lecture highlights where IFTA has been and looks to the next generation to continue the legacy. Read More
FruitsHave Faith In Science – Which Means GMOs [Opinion…
February 25, 2015
When it comes to farming, sticking with established, commonly accepted science is the way to go. Read More
Apples & PearsFrom The Road: IFTA Conference Day 4
February 25, 2015
Creating fruiting walls with mechanical hedgers can help increase light interception in the canopy, say researchers and growers. Read More
PotatoesPotato Grower Black Gold Farms Aquires George Wood Farm…
February 25, 2015
The transaction includes all production and packing operations.   Read More
Stone FruitSouth Carolina Peach Grower Honored For Produce Innovat…
February 25, 2015
Chalmers R. Carr III receives the inaugural Bayer CropScience Produce Innovation Award for focusing on quality, accessibility, and demand. Read More
Food Safety“Dirty Dozen” List Authors Say Conventionally Grown Pro…
February 25, 2015
Sound science prevails and consumers are encouraged to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Read More
CitrusFDA, Federal Partners Develop New Method For Attributin…
February 25, 2015
Data was analyzed from nearly 1,000 outbreaks to assess which categories of foods were most responsible for making people sick. Read More
Protected AgricultureParticipate In The 2015 Greenhouse Crop Production &…
February 25, 2015
The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center hosts its annual short course March 22-27 in Tucson, AZ. Read More
BerriesSecond Florida Strawberry Picking Challenge Packs Phila…
February 25, 2015
Fundraising event at Wish Farms in Plant City raises $76,000 for Redlands Christian Migrant Association. Read More
CitrusBiocontrols 2015: Exhibition Sneak Preview
February 25, 2015
We take a look inside the exhibit hall at the Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow. Read More
GrapesGrowers Of Lower End California Winegrapes Face Challen…
February 24, 2015
Growers in the San Joaquin Valley are pulling out thousands of acres, replanting with nuts. Read More
NutsA Better Way To Gauge Chilling Hours
February 24, 2015
Using a new system, the chill portions model, can improve growers’ accuracy. Read More
TomatoesHazera Seeds Introduces New Grape/Mini-Plum Tomato
February 24, 2015
The variety, Olivia, provides a combination of qualities with consistency of size and sweetness. Read More
BerriesGrowing Greenhouse Strawberries Can Pay
February 24, 2015
British trial shows much lower disease pressure, higher quality and bigger yields. Read More