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Pesticide fate modelling in conservation tillage: Simulating the effect of mulch and cover crop on S-metolachlor leaching

AuthorsMarín Benito, Jesús María CSIC ORCID ; Alletto, Lionel; Barriuso, Enrique; Bedos, Carole; Benoit, Pierre; Pot, Valérie; Mamy, Laure
KeywordsPesticide fate model
Crop residues
Cover crops
Field experiment
Issue Date2018
CitationScience of the Total Environment 628-629: 1508-1517 (2018)
AbstractConservation tillage practices mainly based on cover crops and no-tillage with accumulation of crop residues at the soil surface (mulch)modify the environmental fate of pesticides. However, only fewpesticide fate models are able to considermulch of crop residues aswell as the effect of intermediate cover crops. Thus, the objective was to develop an approach to model the effects of crop residues left at the soil surface and cover crops on the fate of pesticides. This approach consisted in (1) considering the crop residues as a soil layer with specific physical, hydrodynamic and pesticide-reactivity properties close to that of a high organic content soil layer, and (2) introducing a correction factor of the potential evapotranspiration, estimated through a calibration step, to take into account the reduction of soil evaporation by the presence of a mulch. This approach was developed using MACRO as support pesticide model. To assess the model performances,we used the data from a field experiment designed in an irrigated maize monoculture under conservation tillage. Soil water content, water percolates, soil temperature and S-metolachlor herbicide concentrations in the leachate at 1mdepth weremeasured during two years. The approach chosen to simulate the mulch effects allowed MACRO to make acceptable predictions of the observed water percolation, soil temperature and to a less extent herbicide leaching. However, it showed a poor performance to simulate the soil water content. Results are discussed in terms of further modelling options to better assess the environmental risks of pesticides under conservation tillage. This approach remains to be tested against various soils, crops, pesticides and types of mulch.
Description39 páginas, 5 figuras, 5 tablas. -- The definitive version is available at
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