What could be a major breakthrough for California’s strawberry industry may come late this year. AgraQuest has begun evaluating Serenade Soil on strawberry test fields to determine whether it behaves as it does in the already approved crops.
The product would not have the weed seed-killing attributes of the fumigants methyl bromide or methyl iodide, but would offer protection from parasites and fungi, Reiter said.
“For organic growers, it would be a very nice tool, and because of the fumigant setback rules for conventional strawberry growers, it could be a tool that they may use to control those soil diseases that have them considering switching to other crops,” she said.
Results of the evaluations are expected to be compiled in the late fall. If the results are positive, AgraQuest could ask for the label to be expanded to strawberries, Reiter said, because Serenade Soil is already registered with the EPA and California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation.
“There’s a chance — if all the field results work out in our favor and the product performs as we hope — we could have it available in time for use in 2012,” she said. “It’s an exciting time in biopesticides.”