FAQ

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Below we have listed frequently asked questions and answers. Feel free to contact us if your answer isn’t answered here!

Depending on what you compare to. It is indeed energy consuming to do soilsteaming. The reason is that we need to heat up the soil from 10-20 degrees C to 70-75. This demand much energy. This is also reflected in the price. It is both time consuming and energy consuming. This means that the process of soilsteaming normally cost around EUR 1000 per dekar (EUR 10.000) per hectare. This is expensive if you compare to the normal farming practice per year, but soilsteaming is something you do one time every third year of five year. When compared to effective treatment period, Soilsteaming is not expensive.

The short version is that all organic vegetables, fruit or berries are profitable to steam. In organic production you normally have a poor harvest and lots of problems with pathogens. The crop will increase dramatically if it did not have to fight with this. Already the first year it will be profitable to most organic growers. In general, most growers of vegetables, fruit, berry, herbs seeds and flowers should seriously consider soilsteaming.

Soilsteaming involves a lot of energy and steam. This means that you have to be careful when you use the equipment and this is also the reason that all people that operate equipment from SSI gets training and that the software on the machine does not allow people without training to operate the machine.

One of the critics against pesticides is that the chemicals bothers and/or kills bees and insects. There is a lot of insects and bees within a vegetable or berry field, and when the farmer uses the pesticides in this field, this also hits the bees and insects. We soilsteam the field before the farmer plants the crop. There are not a lot of insects and bees in the field before the crop is planted. Therefore, we do not hurt insects or bees in the same way as pesticides do.

Steam is a very effective source of fighting weed, fungi and many sorts of deceases. Therefore it is used in many hospitals and other places where there is big need of cleanness. There are not much (if anything) that survive high temperature over time. This is not what we aim for when we steam the soil. We want to pasteurize the soil and remove the harmful pathogens and weed/seeds. If we manage to heat up the soil to 70-75 degrees C for 20 minutes, we combat almost all the weed and pathogens while most of the beneficials remains in the soil. Read more about this here.

Yes! The only thing we are using in the soil steaming process is steam. Steam from pure water. There are no chemicals needed.

All life seems to find new ways of surviving. We have seen that different kinds of weeds gets resistant towards herbicides that used to work. This might also be with the weeds, fungi and nematodes that we want to control when we soil steaming. We need more research here but based on our 25 years of testing with steam, and a 100-year history of soil steaming, it has been, and still is, very effective.

No. We have done tests in order to understand what happens to the earth worms. Scientists from the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomic Research were involved with us in a project already in 2008 where we wanted to figure out this. The results were that they found that there was no dead worms in the steamed soil. They concluded that soil steaming is a slow process and large equipment. The worms move deeper down in the soil when it can feel the vibrations from the equipment. They return later when the temperature has normalized again.

Yes. But only at the dept that we steam. We might steam down to 50 cm deep. Roots, fungi, seeds and pathogens that lives deeper than the dept that we steam are not influenced.

This depends on what you are fighting. If your problem is weeds, soilsteaming is very effective and long lasting. In 1 m3 of soil you can say that it is approx. 100.000 weeds seeds. Those can stay in the soil for hundreds of years, but when they are exposed for light they will start to grow. This means that every year when the farmer plows, he takes new seeds up in the sunlight and they start to grow. If the seeds bank is intact in the soil, new weeds will continue to come if the farmer plows. Then he has fight these weeds either by hand or by chemicals. After soilsteaming the seedbank is eliminated. This means that as long as the farmer do not plow deeper than the steamed area, he will not bring up more seeds. The only weeds that he will get into his land will be weeds and seeds that comes by the wind or brought in by animals etc. This is very limited. Therefore, we say that you do not need to soilsteam more than 1 time every fifth year in order to fight weeds.

Soilsteaming heats up the soil and that is how we manage to control the weeds, fungi and nematodes. Anything that is in the soil when the treatment is done is controlled, but anything that comes in after the process is done will not be affected by the soilsteaming. When we talk about weeds, the big problem is the seedbank which soilsteaming controls, not the airborne seeds.

When soilsteaming the temperature in the soil is brought up to approx. 70 degrees Celcius. After a few hours the temperature in back to normal. The day after the farmer can grow his crop.

Our equipment today is using diesel, propane or biogas (stationary machine). We have also started to look at the potential for using hydrogen, and when this technology is ready, we will be early in order to use it. With all the benefits from soil steaming (extra crop, longer storage time and less need for pesticides and herbicides) we have calculated the CO2 footprint of being lower than conventional farming in many types of vegetables, berries and fruit.

We are doing tests and documentations every year. Every year in the early spring/summer we are having a demonstration of our equipment. This year we are planning a demo in Norway in June and in California in August. If you are interested in more information you should follow our blog, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or send an e-mail here.

If you’re not familiar with fumigation click here. The difference between Soilsteaming and fumigation is that fumigation applies chemicals down in the soil (same dept or deeper than we use steam) When they do this, they eliminate everything. When we control the steam to not be much more than 70 degrees, more of the beneficials survive. Another important difference is that Soilsteaming are using pure water while Fumigation uses chemicals. Fumigation is a faster process than soilsteaming, but the land must be covered with plastic for a week after treatment. After soilsteaming the soil can be worked the day after.

The best time for soilsteaming is when the soil is workable and there is no harvest in the soil. This means that you must do it before or after you want to grow something there. Either before planting or after harvesting. If you have many crops per season you can do it between 2 crops. The soilsteam process is best to do when the soil is warm, dry and well prepared.

We have been developing this machine since 2015. It has been a long and complex process. First of all, we need to understand how steam works (and different versions of steam) and of course we need to understand how steam works in the soil. This is very complex. We have figured this out, and since 2018 we have been working on optimizing the process to do it as fast as possible with as little energy usage as possible. We plan to do the final tests and demonstrations as well as long term test of the equipment during 2020, so that the first customers can get deliveries in the second half of 2021. Customers have already been asking to get on the list for getting the first deliveries. If you want to be on this list, you should click here.

The machines are not possible to buy. You must lease them. Contact us for more information.

In general, the question is no. We are using a low-pressure steam generator which means that there are no regulations to use it. Everyone that will drive a machine from SSI will get education. Because there are different regulations when it comes to steam generators in different countries, we suggest that you contact local authorities in order to check if there are any special conditions in your country. The steam generators that we are using makes 2T steam per hour with less than 0,5 Bar.

If you have a piece of land and no human activity there, you will most likely have a perfect balance there. Good organisms and bad organisms that keeps each other in balance and stabile conditions. As soon as humans started to grow organic potatoes, changes are made in this balance. 60-70 years of “modern farming” with lots of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers has shaken this balance. Soilsteaming also influence this balance. That is why we do it as seldom as possible (every 3-5 year) and do it as carefully as possible going not above 75 degrees C.

Yes.

The benefits of soilsteaming depends on what you are growing. First of all, soilsteaming controls your weeds very well. We have proven our technology to remove 96-100% of weeds and seeds in the soil. This means that your weeds problem will be reduced to a minimum for many years after steaming. All crops we have tested get a higher yield after our soilsteaming treatment. We have experienced crop increase between 15 and 48%. We have tested on Chinese cabbage, leak, carrots and strawberries. Scientists have experienced up to 100% larger harvest in tests done on strawberries in Germany. On top of this we have seen that most root vegetables get (a lot) longer storage time. This means decreased food waste, and that more of the harvest ends up on the plate.

Yes. Everyone that is supposed to use one of our machines gets training before they are allowed to run the machine themselves. The software does not allow people without access and training to start the equipment.

If you are using our equipment and uses it as we recommend, there are no risk that you will harm your soil. If you use equipment from other suppliers, you might risk overheating the top layer of the soil when you want to heat up the layers longer down. This might kill nitro-fires and other beneficials. You might also ruin the humus in the soil when heating it up too much.

You should contact your insurance agent and ask them directly

If you’re on a leasing contract this is regulated. Personnel from SSI doo service regularly on the machines. Simple operations are possible to do yourself.

This depend on when you order and how many machines that we already have in production. If you are in a hurry and need our machine fast, please contact us here.

We do not have any documentation for this yet however, you will get a product which have been less exposed to pesticides. Second, we do not doubt that a vegetable, berry or fruit that is less exposed to pesticides grows faster and have less competition about water and nutrition also thrives better. We also know that the harvest on steamed soil grows faster. Therefore, we are convinced that the harvest from steamed soil at least is more healthy than traditional harvest.

Steam has many great characteristics, but it cannot remove chemicals which is already there. The good thing is that we do not have to add more chemicals.

This is something we are researching. On one hand, we assume the need for fertilizers to go down since you don’t have any weeds on steamed soil. One the other hand there are some articles which means that the soil needs more nitrogen after Soilsteam treatment. We need more knowledge about this, and we’re planning to do more trials this season.

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