Crop yield gaps can be partially overcome by soil sanitation strategies such as fumigation; however, there are fewer suitable fumigants available in the marketplace and growing concerns about chemical impacts in the environment and human food chain. Therefore, thermal soil sanitation has been considered for some time and microwave soil treatment has some important advantages over other thermal soil sanitation techniques, such as steam treatment. It is also apparent that microwave soil sanitation does not sterilize the soil, but favors beneficial species of soil biota making more nutrients available for better plant growth. From these perspectives, microwave soil treatment may become an important pre-sowing soil sanitation technology for high value cropping systems, allowing agricultural systems to better bridge the crop yield gap.
Part of the book: Sustainable Crop Production