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Modeling hydrology, metribuzin degradation and metribuzin transport in macroporous tilled and no‐till silt loam soil using RZWQM

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Due to the complex nature of pesticide transport, process‐based models can be difficult to use. For example, pesticide transport can be effected by macropore flow, and can be further complicated by sorption, desorption and degradation occurring at different rates in different soil compartments. We have used the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM) to investigate these phenomena with field data that included two management conditions (till and no‐till) and metribuzin concentrations in percolate, runoff and soil. Metribuzin degradation and transport were simulated using three pesticide sorption models available in RZWQM: (a) instantaneous equilibrium‐only (EO); (b) equilibrium‐kinetic (EK, includes sites with slow desorption and no degradation); (c) equilibrium‐bound (EB, includes irreversibly bound sites with relatively slow degradation). Site‐specific RZWQM input included water retention curves from four soil depths, saturated hydraulic conductivity from four soil depths and the metribuzin partition coefficient. The calibrated parameters were macropore radius, surface crust saturated hydraulic conductivity, kinetic parameters, irreversible binding parameters and metribuzin half‐life. The results indicate that (1) simulated metribuzin persistence was more accurate using the EK (root mean square error, RMSE = 0.03 kg ha−1) and EB (RMSE = 0.03 kg ha−1) sorption models compared to the EO (RMSE = 0.08 kg ha−1) model because of slowing metribuzin degradation rate with time and (2) simulating macropore flow resulted in prediction of metribuzin transport in percolate over the simulation period within a factor of two of that observed using all three pesticide sorption models. Moreover, little difference in simulated daily transport was observed between the three pesticide sorption models, except that the EB model substantially under‐predicted metribuzin transport in runoff and percolate >30 days after application when transported concentrations were relatively low. This suggests that when macropore flow and hydrology are accurately simulated, metribuzin transport in the field may be adequately simulated using a relatively simple, equilibrium‐only pesticide model. Published in 2004 for SCI by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Keywords: kinetic sorption; model validation; pesticide degradation; preferential flow

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: USDA—Agricultural Research Service, National Soil Tilth Laboratory (NSTL), 2150 Pammel Dr, Ames, IA 50011, USA 2: USDA—Agricultural Research Service, Great Plains Systems Research, Fort Collins, CO, USA 3: USDA—Agricultural Research Service, Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory, Tifton, GA, USA 4: Environmental and Turf Services, Inc, Wheaton, MD, USA 5: Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA 6: Zoeller Company, Louisville, KY, USA

Publication date: 2004-03-01

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