Growers seek alternatives to fumigant

03/29/2013 03:24:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Growing without fumigation likely will be one of the first projects conducted through the partnership the commission recently struck with California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, she said.

A number of major grower-shippers have made significant strides in reducing their use of methyl bromide.

“We’ve already gone to the alternatives,” said Dan Crowley, sales manager for Well-Pict Inc., Watsonville,

The company uses in-line fumigation,where a fumigant is applied through drip irrigation, eliminating fumes.

“It may be less efficient, but it’s necessary because we don’t have (methyl bromide) available,” he said.

“It’s a concern,” Louis Ivanovich, principal in West Lake Fresh, Watsonville, said of the methyl bromide ban.

However, he added that the state’s growers are “extremely resourceful” and already working with less fumigant.

So far, there is no clear-cut alternative to methyl bromide, he said, but it’s imperative growers find ways to improve yields to deal with rising production costs and retail prices that remain steady.

Matching varieties to particular microclimates is one way to boost yields, he said.


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