Using Site-Specific Nematode Management to Reduce Metam Sodium Use in Irrigated Potato Production
The purpose of this project is to promote grid sampling for nematodes and Verticillium dahliae by potato growers and consultants, resulting in a 30% reduction in metam-sodium use in Idaho. This project targets use of the soil fumigant metam sodium, which often contaminates air and is identified by EPA as a carcinogen. Potato farmers in Idaho use metam sodium more than all other potato pesticides. The most common method of metam sodium application is injection through irrigation systems (chemigation). Our goal is to replace metam sodium chemigation with that of soil injection using site-specific application based upon pest density maps. Metam sodium will be applied on a ‘local’ need instead of a blanket, uniform application. This project will begin with 15 farms and end with 25 farms utilizing the IPM technology. An economic comparison will be made between the two methods of application—chemigation and site-specific soil injection. This will be documented in a 16 page Grower’s Guide to Site-Specific Management of Nematodes. As a result, metam sodium use will be reduced by at least 155,610 pounds on the 25 farms and 3,250 acres involved in the project. The widespread adoption of this innovative IPM approach to manage nematodes on 80,000 acres of potatoes in Idaho alone has the future potential of reducing metam sodium use by 4.6 million pounds, annually. This project will have value for all potatoes raised in EPA Region 10 that exceeds 550,000 acres.
Project goals and objectives
Of the 43 farms raising 65,000 acres of potatoes that we service, 25 farms will implement site-specific nematode sampling and soil injection of metam sodium on at least one of their 130-acre potato fields. Metam sodium use will be reduced by 30% on each farmer’s field, resulting in a total reduction of at least 155,610 pounds of metam sodium on the 25 fields.
1. Number of acres—As a result of this project, 3,250 acres will be treated with site-specific nematode management using soil injected metam sodium.
2. Percent Reduction of High Risk Pesticides—Based upon Western Ag Research’s previous experience with growers implementing site-specific nematode management, we expect at least a 30% reduction of metam sodium use. This represents a reduction of 155,610 pounds of metam sodium on the 25 fields.
3. Leverage with Work—Western Ag Research will incorporate the knowledge of a similar project dealing primarily with the reduction of Telone II using site-specific management. Western Ag Research LLC was awarded a $49,900.00 state of Idaho USDA-CIG grant to promote grid sampling for nematodes. Western Ag Research and participating farmers will contribute in-kind support of no less than $96,925 to this site-specific project.
4. SAI Transition Index—Currently, farmers are at a 0 on the index. At project completion, growers will be at 3 as they conduct 2-acre grid sampling for soil pests and base treatment on sampling results and human health benefits.