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Replacing pesticides with steam and increasing harvests

Soil Steam’s SoilPrep2020 kills weeds in the soil with steam, enabling farmers to improve harvests and quality and extend storage time without the use of pesticides.

Population growth demands a 60 per cent boost in global food production by 2050. In order to meet this target, farmers must control weeds, pests, and pathogens in the soil. Weeds compete with vegetables for nutrients, pests may make crops unsellable, and mould and fungus reduce storage time, resulting in food waste. Moreover, invasive species such as certain weeds and nematodes are a major cause of crop loss and can adversely affect food security.

Although agricultural pesticides have proven useful in improving yield and reducing waste, they pose significant health and environmental hazards. Since pesticides treat only the top layer of soil and do not kill weed seeds, repeated applications at high concentrations are often required. Over time, weeds, pests and pathogens may achieve pesticide resistance.

Cleaning soil with steam

Soil Steam’s SoilPrep2020 is a mobile steaming machine that makes it possible to deep steam soil down to depths of 30 cm in open fields. The patented technology neutralises 95 to 100 per cent of all fungi, weed, seeds and nematodes in the soil, without the need for pesticides. The machine can cover between 600 and 1 500 m² of farmland per hour, depending on the temperature and moisture content of the soil.

The pasteurisation process is controlled to ensure that pathogens are destroyed while certain beneficial microbes remain intact. Because seeds and roots below the surface are inactivated, they will not regrow when the soil is ploughed. A single treatment lasts for up to five years.

Concrete benefits

Soil Steam’s treatment process increases the profitability of farming while reducing the harm caused by pesticides. Carrots grown in treated soil have been shown to last more than twice as long after harvest, due to the absence of fungi that cause rot during storage and long-distance transport. For desirable cash crops such as strawberries, steam cleaning may result in a 100 per cent increase in total yield.

Moreover, treated soil requires shorter intervals of crop rotation, allowing for more frequent planting of higher-profit fruits and vegetables.

Market potential

The global soil treatment market was valued at USD 36.5 billion in 2018 and is estimated to grow to USD 54.8 billion by 2025.

Soil Steam’s mobile SoilPrep2020 is a cost-effective solution for producers of vegetables, berries, fruit, flowers, seeds and herbs. The technology is based on more than 20 years of research, development and testing, with support from partners such as the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), the Research Council of Norway and EIT Climate-KIC.

SoilPrep2020 has been implemented and tested in farms throughout Norway. The technology is being rolled out in the US in partnership with Driscoll’s, Inc. and the University of California, Davis.

Soil Steam also produces Gaia, a stationary soil treatment unit.

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Company

Soil Steam International AS

Skårenveien 25, NO-3233 Sandefjord, Norway

+47 404 02 090
soilsteam.com

At a glance

  • Kills weeds, pests and pathogens without pesticides

  • Improves yield and extends storage time for fruits and vegetables

  • Makes organic farming more sustainable

Status

Soon Available
There are concrete plans to make the solution commercially available in the near future.

Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals