Biofumigation as an IPM Strategy

2006 Annual Report for LNC06-270

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2006: $116,972.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Ann MacGuidwin
University of Wisconsin

Biofumigation as an IPM Strategy


Managed decomposition of crop residue, biofumigation, is a biointensive strategy that has the potential to reduce the use of toxic biocides used to kill soilborne pathogens. Research conducted in Wisconsin and elsewhere has shown this technology can reduce nematodes, fungi, and weeds. Cover crops used for biofumigation have the potential to harbor beneficial insects as they grow and the return of plant residues to soil impacts nutrient turnover and soil parameters.

We propose to work with a group of motivated, innovative growers participating in the “Healthy Grown” potato ecolabel program to adapt biofumigation for Wisconsin vegetable/potato cropping systems. This technology can be adapted to any cropping system and holds promise for a wide range of soil-borne diseases. Outcomes include building a knowledge base and expertise among farmers about biofumigation and educating farmers and the public about the crucial ecosystem services provided by soil organisms and the value of healthy soils as a natural resource. Increasing biofumigation will affect the profitability and sustainability of potato production in the NC region, reduce toxic pesticide inputs to the environment, and ease concerns from the public about exposure to broad-spectrum volatile compounds, thereby sustaining agriculture in highly populated areas. We will conduct two experiments managed by researchers and collaborate with farmers to devise their own trials. The success of our activities will be evaluated on the basis of farmer participation, surveys, and audience response at meetings collected using response pads and associated software. Outputs include written media and recommendations aimed at a broad agricultural clientele.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Build a knowledge base among growers and agribusiness representatives about ecosystem services available in the soil and the organisms involved.

Increase the expertise of farmers about cover crop management and the practice of biofumigation.

Increase awareness of farmers, crop consultants, county agents and industry representatives of the value of biofumigation relative to soil fumigation with synthetic chemicals.


Funding for this project did not commence until 2007.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Notification for the award of this project was in November, 2006. The PIs met in December to plan for the project.


Deana Knuteson
IPM Field Coordinator
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Nutrient Pest Management Program
1575 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
Office Phone: 6082659798