- Author: Susana C. Bruzzone-Miller
UCCE-Ventura farm advisors, Oleg Daugovish and Andre Biscaro are partnering with Joji Muramoto-UC Santa Cruz, on a new step or stage of a research project-Optimizing Anaerobic Soil disinfestation, a technology they have investigated since 2009.
Anaerobic soil disinfestation, or ASD, enhances plant performance and suppresses pests. The technique maintains soil anaerobiosis (life sustained by an organism in the absence of oxygen) for 3-4 weeks and relies on a carbon source and irrigation under plastic mulch. It was developed as a non-chemical alternative to soil fumigation with methyl bromide in the Netherlands and Japan. It has become increasingly popular in California organic fields (over 500 acres) and generated interest among conventional producers of high value crops. Large scale operations require 7-10 days to connect and test the drip lines before initiating irrigation. This may compromise ASD efficacy.
Over the past seven years, research has optimized ASD in California strawberry production. Researchers on this project, located at HAREC, will concentrate on:
- evaluating delayed irrigation on ASD effectiveness
- test two types of carbon sources-rice bran (dry powder, incorporated into soil) and glycerol (liquid solution)
The hope is that a delay in irrigation will not compromise efficacy of the ASD and provide growers with a realistic timeline for implementing this technology. Additionally, a liquid carbon source, if feasible and effective, could simplify the application process and help growers adopt ASD.
Study results will be presented at a field day, the North American Strawberry Growers Association tour, and disseminated at industry oriented meetings in Ventura County and other coastal counties that produce strawberries.
Installation of the project required many hours, extra hands, and heavy equipment. "We thank growers Hector Gutierrez and Jose Romero and UCSC students for their help in setting up the experiment and UC Hansen staff for their support of the project." said Oleg Daugovish.