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

CitrusIt’s Time For Young Farming Leaders To Engage [Opinion]
October 21, 2014
Florida Grower editor Frank Giles says there are capable and talented youths in the ag field ready to step up and take the reins. Read More
Farm ManagementResearchers Finding Biofuel Fits For Florida
October 21, 2014
Alternative crops identified that are suited for the state's climate and can easily be processed for power. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Launches New Award To Recognize Produce Industry Innovators
October 21, 2014
Award recognizes innovation that enhances the role of produce in creating better lives. Read More
FruitsCalifornia Department Of Food And Agriculture Awards $3.6 Million To Assist Farmers With Drought
October 21, 2014
State Water Efficiency And Enhancement Program highlights projects implement irrigation systems that reduce water and energy use. Read More
FruitsWashington State University Researchers See How Plants Optimize Repair Of Sun Damage
October 21, 2014
Results could lead to development of crops that recover from sun damage more easily. Read More
CitrusReport: Major Food And Agriculture Employers Can’t Fill Vital Jobs
October 21, 2014
Current shortage of young farming professionals means ample employment opportunity for the next generation. Read More
More Vegetables6 Savory Tomato And Pepper Varieties For Florida Growers
October 20, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight a half dozen high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
CitrusGrowers Need To Take The Ball And Run — Now! [Opinion]
October 18, 2014
Help yourself, your farm, and fellow colleagues by becoming more involved in your industry. Read More
CitrusLegendary Florida Citrus Grower And Advocate Passes
October 17, 2014
Joe L. Davis Sr. will be remembered for his straight talk and sage advice. Read More

The Latest

CitrusIt’s Time For Young Farming Leaders To Engage [Op…
October 21, 2014
Florida Grower editor Frank Giles says there are capable and talented youths in the ag field ready to step up and take the reins. Read More
Farm ManagementResearchers Finding Biofuel Fits For Florida
October 21, 2014
Alternative crops identified that are suited for the state's climate and can easily be processed for power. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Launches New Award To Recognize Produ…
October 21, 2014
Award recognizes innovation that enhances the role of produce in creating better lives. Read More
FruitsCalifornia Department Of Food And Agriculture Awards $3…
October 21, 2014
State Water Efficiency And Enhancement Program highlights projects implement irrigation systems that reduce water and energy use. Read More
FruitsWashington State University Researchers See How Plants …
October 21, 2014
Results could lead to development of crops that recover from sun damage more easily. Read More
CitrusReport: Major Food And Agriculture Employers Can’t Fi…
October 21, 2014
Current shortage of young farming professionals means ample employment opportunity for the next generation. Read More
Apples & PearsInvasive Pest Found First Time In U.S. At Border Crossi…
October 20, 2014
Moth known to feed on apples, apple buds, leaves, and shoots, is found in a container full of pump valves originating in China. Read More
More Vegetables6 Savory Tomato And Pepper Varieties For Florida Grower…
October 20, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight a half dozen high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
CitrusGrowers Need To Take The Ball And Run — Now! [Opi…
October 18, 2014
Help yourself, your farm, and fellow colleagues by becoming more involved in your industry. Read More
CitrusLegendary Florida Citrus Grower And Advocate Passes
October 17, 2014
Joe L. Davis Sr. will be remembered for his straight talk and sage advice. Read More
GrapesNew American Viticultural Area In Northern California E…
October 17, 2014
“Eagle Peak Mendocino County” lies entirely within the North Coast viticultural area. Read More
GrapesMapping Grape Crown Gall Tumor Disease
October 17, 2014
Scientists are close to cracking the disease’s genetic code, a major boon to vineyard protection. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers To Promote Bee Health
October 16, 2014
Almond Board of California announces comprehensive Best Management Practices. Read More
Cucurbits6 Juicy Watermelon Selections For The Sunshine State
October 16, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight a half dozen high-performance varieties for Florida producers. Read More
CitrusDiversification Is King For Small Farm’s Success
October 16, 2014
Being flexible and adapting to the times critical for Central Florida's Vo-LaSalle Farms. Read More
CitrusAsian Citrus Psyllid Moves Into Northern California
October 15, 2014
First detections made of damaging insect in Santa Clara and San Joaquin counties. Read More
Farm ManagementVidalia Onion Committee Reaches Younger Audience with D…
October 15, 2014
“V is for Vidalia” campaign focused on social and digital media outreach. Read More
VegetablesSakata Seed America To Debut “Tasty 10 By Sakata Coll…
October 15, 2014
The collection includes a new variety and will be launched at the PMA Fresh Summit Oct 17-19. Read More