The million dollar question

04/01/2008 02:00:00 AM

The company received an EUP for about 30 acres in California in 2007.

The Environmental Protection Agency granted Arysta a 1-year registration for Midas in late 2007, and 27 states also have registered the product. Registration is pending in Florida, and it is not registered in California.

“Methyl iodide works very well,” Crocker says. “Its only problem is the iodine part is extremely expensive.”

Methyl bromide runs about $3.10 per pound, or about $465 per treated acre, he says. Midas was initially priced at $10 per pound, and Crocker used it at 175 pounds per acre. Because growers typically treat only the bed, the cost per treated acre will be less.

Since the product received full registration, the price has dropped to $8 per pound, according to Arysta.

With the full registration of Midas, growers can expect to see a significant price reduction, says Mike Allan, Arysta global product manager for the fumigant. The actual price will vary among distributors.

“With the EUPs, you were talking about limited acreage and small volumes that you have to produce, and that’s always more costly,” Allan says.

Nevertheless, he says Midas will still command a 20 percent to 30 percent price premium over methyl bromide.

All of the beds within Crocker’s strawberry trials are covered with Pliant Blockade, a virtually impenetrable 1.25-mil film that reduces the amount of gas that can permeate the plastic. The material costs about twice as much as the 1-mil low-density polyethylene that growers traditionally have used, Crocker says.

University of Florida researchers also will rate the trials for plant health and weed control.

The smell of success?
Crocker has separate trials that look at a combination of dimethyl disulfide, marketed as Paladin by Arkema Inc. of Philadelphia, and chloropicrin. Paladin was applied at 74 gallons per treated acre.

The Environmental Protection Agency has not yet registered Paladin, although it granted Arkema a non-crop-destruct EUP for 200 acres in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

Initial Paladin trials at the association’s facility during the 2006-07 season looked promising enough to prompt Crocker to expand them this year.

“I think it has a lot of promise because the components are very cheap,” he says.

DMDS, which smells like rotten eggs, is a byproduct of petroleum manufacturing and onion processing. Among its uses is an odorant in natural gas.

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