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US group plans fumigant alternatives

A group of US scientists and other specialists has drawn up an action plan to specify research priorities for the development of controls for soil-borne pests and diseases of strawberries without fumigants. The group was convened last year by the California EPA’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR - Agrow No 639, p 16). Among the recommendations are improving the viability of options such as anaerobic soil disinfestation, biopesticides, soil-less substrates, steam and solarisation. The group calls for collaborative research to test combinations of alternatives in extensive field trials and on-farm demonstrations. It will require a “major commitment of time and resources” from the private and public sectors, says DPR director Brian Leahy.

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