Jun 11, 2018
Steam solution for strawberry cultivation in raised rows

In strawberry cultivation, soil nematodes, soil-borne fungus, and weeds must be combated. This often presents a problem, not least of all because of a lack of – or a lack of approved – pesticides. Soil steaming offers an appropriate solution for this issue.

The company MSD — Möschle, Seifert Dämpftechnik — from Durbach, Germany, has developed a revolutionary technology for the cultivation of strawberries in raised rows. In this process, steaming is conducted as the last step before planting.

For raised rows with typical dimensions and a double row of strawberries, 3-meter-long steam hoods are used for each raised row with a plant spacing grid of 30 x 30 cm. The steam hoods are fitted with spikes approximately 30 cm in length which route the steam directly into the raised row covered with plastic film.

The results of this test showed that the spikes and the hot steam did not damage the plastic film on the rows. No heat adhesions could be detected; the same is true of the areas where the steam hood came in contact with the plastic foil. Sufficient heat flow in the raised row was found. As expected, the highest temperatures of over 90 °C were found in the areas immediately surrounding the steam spikes’ points of penetration. On the outer surface of the raised row, temperatures of at least 75 °C could still be found. These temperatures are definitely sufficient to eliminate soil nematodes, soil-borne fungus, and weeds. It is assumed that soil fatigue can likely also be eliminated.

Initial mycological test results from the laboratory at the Agricultural Technology Center in Augustenberg show that steaming through only the planting holes is sufficient to completely kill off all pests. After steaming the affected soil, no living verticillium fungus could be verifiably documented. The temperatures which were reached – between 70 – 80 °C – killed it off entirely.

This proved that sufficient steam distribution – and, consequently, temperature distribution – for the desired hygienization can be achieved with a 30 cm steam spike grid on a ready-to-plant bed that is covered with mulch film.

The experiments were conducted in cooperation with the agricultural office of Bruchsal.

For more information visit www.moeschle.de

Photo above: An MS 200 steam generator from the company MSD, Durbach is used to produce the steam. It has a maximum steam output of 250 kg/h with an operating pressure of 0.5 bar and a steam emission temperature of 200 °C.

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