Investing in R&D

Since the beginning, our company and work has been founded in science and research. The first partnership was between co-founder and then president, Dick Storkan, and Dr. Stephen Wilhelm, Plant Pathologist, University of California, Berkeley. Dick and Stephen are credited with the advancement of mechanical methods of fumigation with plastic sheeting to achieve chemical efficacy and to safely retain the fumigants, allowing for the growth of commercial use.

We continue to develop university and research partnerships to improve efficacy and sustainability. Some of the experts we work with include:

  • Dr. Jim Adaskaveg, UC Riverside
    TriCal and Dr. Adaskaveg have evaluated methyl bromide soil treatment alternatives for suppression of Armillaria Root Rot in almonds over several years and throughout multiple research trials.
  • Dr. Husein Ajwa, UC Davis (emeritus)
    TriCal and Dr. Ajwa have conducted numerous soil fumigant trials and studies on fumigant emissions reduction, including evaluations on totally impermeable film (TIF). These studies demonstrated that, while in place and intact in the field, TIF was successful at effectively retaining soil fumigants under the tarp.
  • Dr. Steve Fennimore, UC Davis
    TriCal and Dr. Fennimore have evaluated a few new soil fumigant candidates on strawberry and ornamental crops, and also collaborated on a multi-year soil disinfestation project using steam. Steam disinfestation resulted in fruit yields that were comparable to those produced using conventionally fumigated soils, although additional work is needed to evaluate its efficacy in larger-scale strawberry production and nursery systems throughout California.
  • Dr. Brad Hanson, UC Davis
    TriCal and Dr. Hanson have conducted several soil fumigant trials on orchard crops, and more recently on fumigants and fumigant alternatives to control a noxious, parasitic weed (broomrape).
  • Dr. Amanda Hodson, UC Davis
    TriCal and Dr. Hodson have collaborated on nematode control projects involving soil fumigants and novel contact nematicides. These studies showed that soil fumigation effectively reduced plant-parasitic nematodes and that some novel contact nematicides have promise in an integrated management program for nematode control.
  • Dr. Shashika Hewavitharana & Dr. Gerald Holmes, Cal Poly
    TriCal, Dr. Hewavitharana, and Dr. Holmes have evaluated several soil fumigant treatments for control of strawberry diseases, their positive impact on soil microbial diversity, and the utility of crop termination after final harvest.
  • Dr. Joji Muramoto, UC Santa Cruz
    TriCal and Dr. Muramoto have collaborated over many years on Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) trials, culminating in TriCal having the only broadcast ASD rig in commercial service in California.
  • Dr. Andreas Westphal, UC Riverside
    TriCal and Dr. Westphal have conducted research on walnut orchard and perennial crop nursery trials, with a focus on nematode control. The goal of this research is to increase grower profitability and sustainability of walnut production by mitigating the devastating impacts of plant-parasitic nematodes in these orchards.
  • Dr. Daniel Ashworth, USDA
    TriCal and Dr. Ashworth have worked together on environmental fate studies, showing that the soil degradation rate of chloropicrin is dependent on the initial application rate. These results continue the joint effort to provide tools to growers while protecting public health and the environment.
  • Dr. Greg Browne, USDA
    TriCal and Dr. Browne have installed numerous, multi-year soil fumigation and Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) trials on almonds.
  • Dr. Peter Henry, USDA
    TriCal and Dr. Henry are currently working on a multi-year soil fumigation trial that is evaluating different fumigants and fumigant application methods on their ability to control strawberry pathogens harbored inside residual crown tissue, as these are believed to be a possible source of field reinoculation after fumigation.
  • Dr. Dan Kluepfel, USDA
    TriCal and Dr. Kluepfel have collaborated on soil fumigant studies that evaluated control or suppression of Crown Gall (Agrobacterium), as well as on various Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) trials in walnuts and perennial crop orchards.
  • Dr. Suduan Gao, USDA
    TriCal and Dr. Gao collaborated on multiple studies that evaluated the effect of different soil fumigants, fumigant application rates, and environmental safety technology such as impermeable tarps and reactive boundary layers, with a focus on orchard crops.
  • Dr. Frank Martin, USDA
    TriCal and Dr. Martin have collaborated on precision soil fumigation tactics, where portions of fields are ‘heat-mapped’ for disease pressure using state-of the-art diagnostics tools, and variable fumigation rates are applied based on the disease pressure in any given portion of a field. The objective of this work is to optimize fumigant use to develop a more precise strategy for management of soil-borne pests based on disease risk.

We conduct dozens of field trials every year. Many have been documented in peer reviewed journals such as California Agriculture or presented at conferences such as at the Annual International Research Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Methyl Bromide Alternatives.