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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Effect of Tillage Systems and Rainfall Patterns on Atrazine Distribution in Soil


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 21 No. 3, p. 464-469
    Received: Oct 10, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. A. M. Sadeghi * and
  2. A. R. Isensee
  1. USDA-ARS, Natural Resources Inst., Pesticide Degradation Lab., BARC-W, Beltsville, MD 20705.



High variability of atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-1,3,5 triazine) residues in soil and shallow groundwater have been reported under various agricultural management systems. This 2-yr study was conducted to evaluate atrazine residue levels in soil as influenced by no-till (NT) vs. conventional-till (CT) under natural rainfall conditions. Atrazine was applied annually (at 1.34 kg/ha), 1 d after corn (Zea mays L.) planting, to two NT and two CT plots. Atrazine residues within the 0- to 10-cm soil depth of CT plots were higher than in the NT plots, regardless of the difference in the rainfall patterns. Higher (ca. 61%) mean atrazine residues in the CT plots over NT plots in 1955 was most likely related to the rainfall that began 12 h after application. In contrast, in 1987, it rained 3 to 4 d after application and the residues in the CT were only 31% higher than in NT. These results indicate that even a subtle difference in rainfall distribution (temporal) can result in marked spatial variability in the distribution of atrazine.

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