A Meta-analysis of Strawberry Yield Response to Preplant Soil Fumigation with Combinations of Methyl Bromide–chloropicrin and Four Alternative Systems

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  • 1 Pomology Department, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Yield for annual California strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) production systems in soils treated with combinations of methyl bromide–chloropicrin (MB:CP) were compared with four alternative soil treatment systems using meta-analysis. Studies represent 11 production seasons, and were conducted at three distinct locations in California. Fumigation with mixtures of methyl bromide (MB) and chloropicrin (CP) increased yield significantly compared with any and all alternatives lacking MB. In a combined analysis of 45 studies, fumigation with MB:CP compounds increased yield an average of 94.4% (d+ = 2.874 ± 0.098) compared with yields for plants in nonfumigated (NF) soils. Further, the effect of MB:CP fumigation increased over the first three strawberry cultivation cycles: MB:CP–fumigated soils provided a 59.2% (d+ = 2.166 ± 0.146) yield advantage when one cycle of fumigation was omitted, a 100.2% (d+ = 3.000 ± 0.143) advantage when two cycles were omitted, and a 148.4% (d+ = 6.201 ± 0.348) yield advantage when three or more cycles of MB:CP were omitted. In a combined analysis that included 34 studies, soil fumigation with MB:CP conferred a 9.6% (d+ = 0.751 ± 0.087) yield advantage over fumigation with CP alone. Soils treated with MB:CP yielded 6.8% (d+ = 0.437 ± 0.114) more fruit than those treated with very high rates of CP (336–396 kg·ha–1), and 15.4% (d+ = 1.190 ± 0.134) more than soils treated with commercially realistic rates (168–224 kg·ha–1). Similar to the comparison using NF soils, the efficacy of very high rates of CP appeared to diminish over cycles of strawberry cultivation; MB:CP increased yield 2.2% (d+ = 0.043 ± 0.162) in the first CP production cycle, 10.6% (d+ = 0.588 ± 0.174) and 13.7% (d+ = 2.054 ± 0.401) in the following two cycles. Combinations of dichloropropene (DP) and CP were no more effective than were lower rates of CP alone, and MB:CP conferred a 14.4% (d+ = 0.962 ± 0.162) yield advantage over mixtures of DP:CP. Mixtures of MB:CP increased yield 29.8% (d+ = 3.199 ± 0.287) compared with metam sodium (MS). The standardized effect was similar when comparing MB:CP combinations with either MS or NF soils, suggesting little effect of MS on the yield response. Chemical names used: trichloronitromethane (chloropicrin); 1,3-dichloropropene (dichloropropene); sodium N-methyldithiocarbamate (metam sodium).

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