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Application of Alternative Fumigants Through Drip Irrigation Systems

December 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  12
Pages  1,349 - 1,355

H. A. Ajwa , T. Trout , J. Mueller , S. Wilhelm , S. D. Nelson , R. Soppe , and D. Shatley

First author: University of California, Davis 95616; second, fifth, and sixth authors: Water Management Research Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Fresno, CA 93727; third and seventh authors: Dow AgroSciences, Brentwood, CA 94513; and fourth author: Niklor Chemical Co., Inc., Long Beach, CA 90810

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Accepted for publication 23 July 2002.

Strawberry fields in California (9,500 ha annually) are pre-plant fumigated with methyl bromide and chloropicrin to prevent serious soil pest and disease problems. Although soil fumigation with methyl bromide has ensured stability of strawberry production, its use is being discontinued because of its effect on stratospheric ozone. The likely short-term alternatives such as 1,3-dichloropropene, chloropicrin, and metham sodium, although not ozone depleters, are potentially hazardous to the environment and humans if applied improperly. Water-soluble formulations of alternative fumigants can be applied through drip irrigation systems established to irrigate crops. In comparison to conventional shank methods of injection, application of soluble formulations through drip irrigation systems would be economical and environmentally friendly, reduce worker exposure, and allow for simultaneous or sequential application of a combination of fumigants. This paper discusses techniques developed to apply alternative fumigants through drip irrigation systems, and reviews ongoing studies to determine optimum application rates, soil conditions, plastic mulches, and amount of irrigation water used to apply these alternative fumigants.

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society