Currently about 48% of the California strawberry acreage utilizes alternatives to MB, primarily drip-applied InLine, Pic-Clor 60 or chloropicrin emulsified formulation (Pic-EC) (CADPR 2011). Growers utilize drip fumigation with these products because these treatments cost less than MB/Pic broadcast shank fumigation. However, there are limits to how much of the remaining 52% of the strawberry acreage can be converted from MB to alternative fumigants.
Fumigants are difficult to apply evenly by chemigation on hilly fields where beds are not formed along contour lines. Also, the 1,3-D (Telone, InLine, Pic-Clor 60 ) township cap and the large buffer zone for InLine (300 feet) after the first application limit 1,3-D use. Currently, growers use Pic-Clor 60 to cope with township caps for 1,3-D, and apply 100% Pic in buffer zones where 1,3-D cannot be applied. However, there are sensitive sites near schools, day care centers and hospitals where Pic rates are limited to 125 lb/A. Methyl iodide is registered, but limitations on its use in California are significant – for example 0.5 mile sensitive site buffer zones greatly reduce the ability to use methyl iodide near urban areas such as is the case in Ventura County. The high cost of methyl iodide, political and legal challenges by environmental groups will likely mean that little of this fumigant will be used in California in the foreseeable future.