To plant or not to plant: Managing the risk of strawberry fumigant phytotoxicity

The VSIDC are currently funding research by VSICA Research to develop tests for measuring fumigants in soil so that growers know when it is safe to plant their crops. Researchers are testing two different technologies (photoionisation detectors and colorimetric tubes) that instantaneously detect fumigants in soil. The use of these technologies in field surveys has already prevented growers from planting into soil containing fumigant residues at 15 sites. The project has established a field trial in the industry that is evaluating the tolerance of different strawberry varieties to the presence of fumigant residues in soil. Preliminary results showed strong correlations between the concentration of fumigants in soil and growth inhibition in lettuce as an indicator plant. If results continue to show success it is anticipated the technologies will be developed as a product or service to growers in Victoria.