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Historical document

Breaking the critical-use barriers preventing Australian horticulture from phasing out methyl bromide (BS04009)

Key research provider: Victorian Department of Primary Industries (VICDPI)
Publication date: May, 2008

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

Australian horticulture continued to face one of its greatest challenges of the modern era – the phase-out of methyl bromide (MB) due to its ozone depleting properties. For 50 years, the industries had used MB to disinfest soils of pathogens, weeds and pests, and to maximise yields. This project was conducted to identify alternatives for industries applying to the UN for critical-use exemptions to retain MB use (especially strawberry runners, strawberry fruit, and flower industries). It evaluated novel production methods that mitigated the need for soil disinfestation, including soil-less production and tissue culture, in addition to alternative soil fumigants. The future integration of these treatments offered growers a mechanism for reducing their reliance on chemical fumigation, increasing the efficacy of alternative fumigants, improving soil health and increasing the sustainability of their industries. Through this research, the number of industries who applied for CUEs fell by 80 per cent since the commencement of this project, and MB use in Australia had decreased by 110 tonnes pa. The identification of alternatives to MB through this and previous projects had prevented losses in Australian horticulture worth over $100 million annually.

Related levy funds

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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of HortResearch Ltd, Dow AgroSciences Australia Ltd, Toolangi Certified Strawberry Runner Growers Co-operative and the strawberry industry.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2008. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).