Be prepared for new soil fumigation regulations in 2012

The EPA’s new fumigation regulations go into effect next year. These new rules have a major impact on how Michigan growers will use many of the common soil fumigants.

While fumigation has always been important to Michigan’s potato industry for control of soil pests such as nematodes, in recent years it has also become important in the production of a number of other vegetable crops. Soil-borne diseases such as Phytophthora capsici have become more common problems in the production of vine crops such as pumpkins, squash and zucchini and Solanaceous crops such as peppers and tomatoes. In addition, Phytophthora asparagi was recently identified as a major pest of asparagus, necessitating wide spread use of fumigation in that crop.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the responsibility to regulate all pesticides, including fumigants, and earlier this year they finished a review that has resulted in significant rule changes on fumigant use that will go into effect next year. These new rules have a major impact on how, and even whether, Michigan vegetable growers will use many of the common soil fumigants.

The EPA and several agri-chemical suppliers have been holding informational meetings over the last year that helped educate many growers on the new fumigation regulations. If you have missed these meetings or would simply like a refresher course on these changes, an opportunity remains to do so before the beginning of calendar year 2012.

The Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo will be providing an educational session on fumigation on Thursday morning, December 8, 2011. The Great Lakes Expo is held annually at DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids, Mich. This year’s convention will be held December 6-8 and includes educational sessions for most vegetable and fruit crops. Registration information and details about the Fumigation Session can be found at the Great Lakes Expo website.

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