Berry Industry Without Methyl Bromide

Berry Industry Must Now Work Smarter in Post Methyl Bromide Era

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

The strawberry fruit production industry, with the exception of plant nurseries, has reached the point where methyl bromide is no longer available under any circumstances, and new alternatives or strategies must be found to protect strawberries from serious diseases.

The University of California is focused on a holistic approach, which includes the tried-and-true method of integrated pest management in this post Methyl Bromide era.

“None of the alternative fumigants are as good as methyl bromide,” said Mark Bolda, UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor for Santa Cruz County, who is working closely with growers on alternative methods. “So one area that we could focus on is different strategies at the time of planting. For example, strawberries have different chill times. You must add cold conditioning to give the plant more vigor.”

Mark Bolda

There are many questions. Could the colors of the plastic mulch that growers are using manage the temperatures of the soil? How about the amount of fertilizer that is being used?

“We need to start integrating these variables into the way we grow strawberries with the lack of fumigants that are as effective as methyl bromide,” Bolda explained. “We need to integrate all these things and others in order to grow berries with the lack of available fumigants that are as effective as methyl bromide.”

“It’s a little disappointing that here we are at zero-hour and we do not have this worked out,” he continued. “The University of California Cooperative Extension have had a number of meetings in my office, as well as other places where we get many people in the same room to try to figure out what we know and what we don’t know.”

“There’s a lot of smart people in the industry, and I know we can get on this and find solutions,” he said.

Nimitz Nematicide Now Registered In California Fruiting Vegetables

New Nematicide is A Game Changer for Vegetable Growers

ADAMA, a world leader in customer-focused agricultural solutions, announced today that NIMITZ nematicide received state registration in California for use on tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplant, cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupe and squash.

NIMITZ, a revolutionary product, delivers an unmatched combination of efficacy, simplicity and safety for control of plant-parasitic nematodes on commercial vegetables.

With its fast-acting and unique mode of action, NIMITZ raises industry standards. As a truer, more complete contact nematicide, it also fills a void in the absence of methyl bromide.

Power of simplicity

NIMITZ represents the first new chemical nematicide to be introduced in more than 20 years. The product’s label carries the least restrictive signal word – ‘Caution’.

In contrast to fumigant nematicides, NIMITZ simplifies nematode management by lessening complex handling practices and application restrictions. The result is no Fumigant Management Plans, no 24-hour field monitoring, no buffer zones, no re-entry interval (REI), no specialized equipment and minimal personal protective equipment (PPE).

“NIMITZ is a contact nematicide, not a fumigant,” says Herb Young, ADAMA brand leader. “And because of its residual activity, NIMITZ’s control of nematodes often exceeds the commercial standards. The distinct advantage over other nematicides is that it frees growers from complications, liabilities, and dangers associated with fumigants.”Nimitz Logo

A better solution

As a non-gas formulation, the active ingredient in NIMITZ is distributed through the soil and into contact with nematodes through irrigation or rainfall. Unlike older chemistries, there is no mandatory tarping or specialized machinery requirement. Applications may include broadcast or banding with mechanical incorporation or through drip-injection.

As a ‘true nematicide’, NIMITZ causes irreversible nematicidal activity which results in pest mortality within 48 hours of application, rather than temporary nematostatic (immobilizing) activity as seen with organophosphates and carbamate nematicides.

“NMITZ is lethal to nematodes. As a result, we see greatly improved root health all season which leads to yield enhancement,” says Young.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote in the Federal Docket on July 24, 2014 that, “Fluensulfone (NIMITZ) represents a safer alternative for nematode control with a new mode of action and a much simpler and straightforward product label.”

A secondary crop tier has been submitted to the EPA for future registration on potatoes, strawberries, carrots, tobacco and turf.

As new tool for California vegetable growers, NIMITZ has the potential to bring safety and simplicity to the nematode control arena which is constantly under increasing regulatory pressure.