Non-chemical Pre-plant Soil Disinfestation


Courtesy of Courtesy of Agrivi Ltd

The battle with pests, diseases and weeds is an everyday problem for every farmer. Due to the fact that 40% of the world’s food production is lost due to pests and diseases, farmers need to manage crop protection. An excellent example of the need for pesticides is cotton. It is a crop that is affected by various pests. Cotton farming accounts for more than 25% of all insecticides and 12% of all pesticides used worldwide.

Although pesticides play a major role in crop protection, there is a global problem with the inappropriate pesticide application.. The widespread use of chemical pesticides also jeopardizes the soil, plants, and humans.
Scientists, therefore, found a way to preserve soil and plant health, and to achieve a sustainable approach to crop protection. They developed a pre-planting technique as an alternative to chemical crop protection which includes non-chemical soil fumigation.

Anaerobic Pre-plant Soil Disinfestation

Pre-plant soil disinfestation refers to several methods that eliminate or reduce soilborne pests, diseases, and weeds in high-value specialty crops. Anaerobic soil disinfestation is a non-chemical pre-plant technique of soil disinfestation that is based on anaerobic conditions favorable for soil microorganisms that control the soilborne pests, diseases, and weeds.

The process involves following actions:

  • the creation of anaerobic soil conditions by incorporating an easily decomposable carbon source such as a cover crop or an organic material that is incorporated into the soil
  • covering the soil with plastic mulch to maintain the soil moisture above field capacity
  • irrigation of the soil to saturation, to facilitate the development of strongly anaerobic conditions driven by soil microbes

During this process, anaerobic decomposers use added carbon which produces organic acids toxic to pathogens. These acids and other organic byproducts degrade rapidly once the plastic tarp is removed, or holes are punched through the tarp for planting.


This non-chemical alternative for pre-plant protection was developed in Japan and Netherlands in the 1990s and 2000s. Its effectiveness has been researched more recently. This method has proven to be effective against several soilborne pests, diseases, and weeds across a wide range of crops and environments. In addition, a number of researchers around the world are working to explain the changes in the soil during the anaerobic soil disinfestation treatment. It’s safe to say that anaerobic soil disinfestation could serve as an adequate alternative and good farm practice that leads to farm sustainability.

Sustainable plant protection is possible if farmers rely on wise and environmental friendly pest management practices. Agrivi farm management software is also a solution for farmers who want to manage their plant protection properly. With Agrivi, farmers can track quantities of all pesticides entered in the soil, including their active substances applied per crops and fields, as well as other farmer’s activities related to the crop farming. The software includes a knowledge base for over 300 pests and diseases for more than 80 crops and smart pest alarms which warn farmers of possible pest or disease risk.

Sign up now and let Agrivi help you manage your pest protection!

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