The California Strawberry Commission Board of Directors approved $500,000 for research focused on reducing emissions from fumigants. This is a new research initiative and critical part of the commission’s on-going production research program.

Preliminary research conducted by the University of California and the USDA has found that promising new technology and production practices may enable growers to significantly reduce emissions from fumigants used for pre-plant soil treatments. These methods include the use of high barrier and virtually impermeable films (VIF) in combination with changes in field preparation such as sealing the soil surface during fumigation with water or fertilizers.

By reducing fumigant emissions, growers should be able to safely improve the efficacy of fumigants while reducing the amount of fumigants used on and emitted from their fields.

Neil Nagata, chairman of the research committee said working on reducing emissions at the farm level is a positive step. “The commission is taking an important and responsible step by focusing on finding tools and practices that will keep fumigants contained in the soil until they have completely broken down,” said Nagata. “This research will help growers use their fumigants more effectively and augment the state’s already strict standards for worker safety and environmental protection.”

The commission will be working with researchers, manufacturers and regulatory organizations such as the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to coordinate the development and implementation of emission reduction procedures for fumigants in the coming year.

The California Strawberry Commission supports and represents the California strawberry industry with programs in research, education, marketing and issues management. The commission represents an industry of over 600 growers, shippers and processors.

For more information, go to www.calstrawberry.com or contact the commission office at (831) 724-1301.