alternatives to fumigation, but the results have not been entirely consistent, he says. He still encourages growers to use compost as a soil amendment, maybe even in place of fumigation when replanting to cherries.

Work is also underway into the use of poultry and dairy manure and yard waste compost when replanting. In his work with raspberry replanting in the Fraser Valley, Forge found that compost was nearly as successful in the first year as soil fumigation at reducing populations of parasitic nematodes, while improving the health of the soil and helping the young plants get established — all without having adverse effects on the environment.

The aim is to identify alternative pre-planting soil management practices to reduce populations of parasitic nematodes.

However, a concern in the manured plots was that there was much higher nitrogen. Because it was higher than the plants could use, there was a risk of nitrate leaching into groundwater sources with that treatment, he notes. In compost, on the other hand, the nitrogen is released slower, over a

longer period of time, which benefits plant growth without doing harm to the aquifer, he notes.

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency has expressed concerns in the past few years about protection of both human health and the environment from more than one active ingredient in commonly-used fumigants. New restrictions have been put in place on those products. Today, no Chloropicrine is used in B.C. because it would require very specialized equipment that isn’t available here, notes Irene Wilkin, regional pesticides officer with Health Canada.

In 2012, a number of documents were released following a re- evaluation of soil fumigants, she says. She has been doing inspections in the Fraser Valley the past two years, following up on sales records to find growers who have purchased either Basamid or Vapam. Label instructions regarding safety and buffer zones are difficult to understand, she concedes, and in some cases, the requirement for large buffer zones has meant growers need to get creative in order to treat their

fields, while ensuring everything is safe.

In order to comply with the regulations, they can reduce the rate of application to reduce buffer zone sizes or divide up their fields into smaller treatment zones and treat the smaller areas 12 hours apart. They can also take advantage of buffer zone credits which allow them to reduce the size of buffers if the soil temperature is low, if soil organic matter is high, if they use a tarp, etc., she says.

Use of both Basamid and Vapam for soil fumigation has been changed from commercial to restricted class application, meaning users must have a certificate issued by the B.C. Ministry of Environment that indicates they have been trained in how to conduct a soil fumigation. The helper as well as the applicant requires certification.

As well, growers must have a Fumigation Management Plan before fumigating. The label on the fumigant lists what is required.

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency has developed a FMP template which is available from PMRA, she advises.

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2017


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