Methyl Bromide till 2015/

Hugh Lovel uai at
Thu Jun 15 18:37:35 EDT 2000

Wow! Jill,

Alex answered this wonderfully! I WAS outside. My hat's off to him. He's
100% right including the part about Elaine Ingham.

I suspect there's some good growers on this list and a lot more potential
ones. Listen to their comments. I'm swamped.

Hugh Lovel

>Hugh may be outside right now.  I'll answer what I can and Maybe Hugh will
>share some of
>his knowledge.
>Methyl Bromide is injected into the soil as a gas to kill all life.  This
>results from
>the thinking that if you kill everything, you kill the "bad guys."  This
>is widely used
>by strawberry growers and some monocrop vegetable growers.  It's used with
>annual crops.
>The problem is that the only life forms that recover rapidly after
>sterilization are the
>"bad guys," like fusarium, resulting (they think) in the use of more
>sterilant. Sort of a
>self-perpetuating system- sterilization increases the problem.
>Hugh refers to an Acres USA article as an attachment to his letter.  I'm
>assuming this is
>the issue containing the interview with Elaine Ingham.  She has worked
>with California
>strawberry farmers who had used methyl bromide for years and were looking for
>alternatives.  Her bioassay of their soil showed that the soil ecology was
>dominated by
>the "bad guys" and that the "good guys" were few or not present.
>She had them add compost with a balanced soil ecosystem present to
>inoculate the soil and
>balance their ecosystems- with great success.  These growers are no longer
>using methyl
>bromide and are producing above average crop yields while decreasing their
>cost of
>The moral of the story is, encourage a healthy soil ecosystem through
>proper soil
>management and add beneficial organisms through good composting practices
>Biodynamic preparations to suppress disease rather than trying to kill
>everything and
>hopefully get the "bad guys."
>Current research on methyl bromide centers around finding another
>sterilant.  The methods
>being tested are other chemicals, solarization and injecting steam.  All
>follow the same
>flawed logic of killing all life.  Dr. Ingham's work is an exception.  It
>follows the
>proven theory that a healthy soil ecosystem results in healthy plants.
>The "technology"
>is available to stop using methyl bromide right now.  But the chemical
>companies have law
>makers convinced that they have to come up with a chemical alternative
>before it's
>banned.  They have also convinced the farmers who use it that they have to
>use a
>sterilant or suffer crop losses.
>The only reason I can see for pursuing sterilization techniques is that it
>keeps farmers
>dependent on supply companies.  Dr. Ingham's work moves farmers towards
>independence and
>economic sustainability.
>Alex McGregor
>Walden Farm
>Jill Taylor Bussiere wrote:
>> Hugh,
>>     Is this the substance that is used on strawberries?   Can you tell what
>> it is used for, on what fruits and vegetables, and if there are any other
>> ill effects besides the sterilization of the soil?  Or some relevant web
>> sites?
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