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Corn stover harvest increases herbicide movement to subsurface drains – Root Zone Water QualityModel simulations
Publications from USDA-ARS / UNL Faculty
  • Martin J. Shipitalo, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Ames, IA
  • Robert W. Malone, USDA-Agricultural Research Service
  • Liwang Ma, USDA-ARS
  • Bernard T. Nolan, US Geological Survey
  • Rameshwar S. Kanwar, Iowa State University
  • Dale L. Shaner, USDA-ARS
  • Carl H. Pederson, Iowa State University
Date of this Version

Pest Manag Sci (2015)


U.S. Government Work


BACKGROUND: Crop residue removal for bioenergy production can alter soil hydrologic properties and the movement of agrochemicals to subsurface drains. The Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM), previously calibrated using measured flow and atrazine concentrations in drainage from a 0.4 ha chisel-tilled plot, was used to investigate effects of 50 and 100% corn (Zea mays L.) stover harvest and the accompanying reductions in soil crust hydraulic conductivity and total macroporosity on transport of atrazine, metolachlor andmetolachlor oxanilic acid (OXA).

RESULTS: The model accurately simulated field-measured metolachlor transport in drainage. A 3 year simulation indicated that 50% residue removal reduced subsurface drainage by 31% and increased atrazine and metolachlor transport in drainage 4–5-fold when surface crust conductivity and macroporosity were reduced by 25%. Based on itsmeasured sorption coefficient, approximately twofold reductions in OXA losses were simulated with residue removal.

CONCLUSION: The RZWQM indicated that, if corn stover harvest reduces crust conductivity and soil macroporosity, losses of atrazine andmetolachlor in subsurface drainagewill increase owing to reduced sorption related tomorewatermoving through fewermacropores. Losses of the metolachlor degradation product OXA will decrease as a result of themore rapid movement of the parent compound into the soil.

Citation Information
Martin J. Shipitalo, Robert W. Malone, Liwang Ma, Bernard T. Nolan, et al.. "Corn stover harvest increases herbicide movement to subsurface drains – Root Zone Water QualityModel simulations" (2015)
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