Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) has been optimized and adopted as an organic alternative to chemical fumigation by strawberry growers in California. The ASD process relies on mixing labile carbon sources into the soil to generate chemical, physical, and microbiological changes aiding suppression of the soil-borne pathogens and enhancing fruit production. Continued ASD adoption is hindered by the increasing cost of rice bran, currently the most widely used carbon source. To address this need and to find suitable and economical alternative carbon sources, we conducted field evaluations of locally produced or sourced plant-based products. ASD with incorporated grass-sod clippings spent grain and coffee grounds from one supplier provided a 47% to 83% increase in fruit yields compared to untreated soil, but coffee grounds from a different supplier decreased strawberry yields. Carbon, nitrogen, and their ratios had important impacts on the efficacy of ASD with coffee grounds and grape pomace. ASD with wheat midds at 20 t/ha provided strawberry yields similar to chloropicrin-fumigated soil while substituting 30% of rice bran carbon rate with on-site grown cereal cover crop biomass resulted in yields similar to the full rate of rice bran but at a reduced cost. As we continue exploring cost-effective methods of soil disinfestation, we utilize ASD integrated with other pest management tools, such as the use of resistant cultivars and crop rotation for sustainable production.
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