Influence of Soil Texture and Tillage on Herbicide Transport
Two long-term no-till corn production studies, representing different soil texture, consistently showed higher leaching of atrazine [2-chloro-4-(ethylamino)-6-(isopropylamino)-s-triazine] to groundwater in a silt loam soil than in a sandy loam soil. A laboratory leaching study was initiated using intact soil cores from the two sites to determine whether the soil texture could account for the observed differences. Six intact soil cores (16 cm dia by 20 cm high) were collected from a four-year old no-till corn plots at each of the two locations (ca. 25 km apart). All cores were mounted in funnels and the saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) was measured. Three cores (from each soil texture) with the lowest Ksat were mixed and repacked. All cores were surface treated with [ring−14C] atrazine, subjected to simulated rainfall at a constant intensity until nearly 3 pore volume of leachate was collected and analyzed for a total of . On an average, nearly 40% more of atrazine was leached through the intact silt loam than the sandy loam soil cores. For both the intact and repacked cores, the initial atrazine leaching rates were higher in the silt loam than the sandy loam soils, indicating that macropore flow was a more prominent mechanism for atrazine leaching in the silt loam soil. A predominance of macropore flow in the silt loam soil, possibly due to greater aggregate stability, may account for the observed leaching patterns for both field and laboratory studies.
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