- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Methyl bromide use has dropped dramatically over the years and is expected to be completely phased out by 2016, but strawberry farmers still don't have an alternative that works as well. Research is continuing.
"We're going to be using fumigants for a long time," said Steven Fennimore, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension specialist based at the USDA ag research station in Salinas. "They're relatively cheap and going all organic exposes you to a lot of pests."
Among the possible solutions shared in the Washington Post are:
- Finding and developing genetic resistance in strawberries to soil-borne diseases
- Anaerobic soil disinfestation, where a soil environment is created that is toxic for plant pathogens
- Steam injection
Fennimore suggests that there is unlikely to be a single tactic to replace methyl bromide.
"People talk about a silver bullet to replace it, and that's a mistake," Fennimore said. "We want to put a lot of treatments together and make it all work."