By Kurt Nolte, UA Agriculture Agent, Yuma 

Within the next four months, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide final approval of all soil fumigant labels; implementing the next phase of new soil fumigant mitigation measures.

With these new regulations, producers using soil fumigants must abide by stronger restrictions and mitigation regulation, all of which will be noted on the pesticide label.

In Yuma County, most soil fumigants are used in spring and fall melon crops. As melon ground preparation begins immediately following produce, it is important to understand the new requirements before the upcoming spring melon season.

The soil fumigants that fall under the new EPA regulations include: chloropicrin, dazomet, 1,3-dichloropropene, iodomethane, metam sodium/potassium, methyl bromide, and methyl isothiocyanate (MITC).

One notable change is that all soil fumigants will be classified as restricted-use pesticides (RUPs). This includes metam sodium and dazomet which previously were not classified as RUPs.

This also means that any applicator in Arizona who wishes to use soil fumigants will need to become certified before applying the products.

Other new mitigation measures include: additional worker protection measures, written fumigant management plans, registrants’ stewardship and training programs, mandatory good agricultural practices, buffer zones and buffer posting, and emergency preparedness and response measures.

Details of the new regulatory measures will be discussed at the Preseason Vegetable Workshop in Yuma on Aug. 31 at the UA Cooperative Extension office in Yuma.

A special soil fumigant workshop which addresses each new requirement is planned for this fall.

Contact: Kurt Nolte, (928) 726-3904 or knolte@ag.arizona.org.