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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Surface Water Quality

Herbicide Retention in Soil as Affected by Sugarcane Mulch Residue


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 32 No. 4, p. 1445-1454
    Received: July 10, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): mselim@agctr.lsu.edu
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  1. H. M. Selim *,
  2. L. Zhou and
  3. H. Zhu
  1. Agronomy Dep., Louisiana State Univ. AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA 70803


Reducing surface and subsurface losses of herbicides in the soil and thus their potential contamination of water resources is a national concern. This study evaluated the effectiveness of sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) residue (mulch cover) in reducing nonpoint-source contamination of applied herbicides from sugarcane fields. Specifically, the effect of mulch residue on herbicide retention was quantified. Two main treatments were investigated: a no-till treatment and a no-mulch treatment. The amounts of extractable atrazine [2-chloro-4-(isopropylamino)-6-ethylamino-s-triazine], metribuzin [4-amino-6-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-3-(methylthio)-1,2,4-triazin-5(4H)-one], and pendimethalin [N-(ethylpropyl)-3,4-dimethyl-2,6-dinitroaniline] from the mulch residue and the surface soil layer were quantified during the 1999 and 2000 growing seasons. Significant amounts of applied herbicides were intercepted by the mulch residue. Extractable concentrations were at least one order of magnitude higher for the mulch residue compared with that retained by the soil. Moreover, the presence of mulch residue on the sugarcane rows was highly beneficial in minimizing runoff losses of the herbicides applied. When the residue was not removed, a reduction in runoff-effluent concentrations, as much as 50%, for atrazine and pendimethalin was realized. Moreover, the presence of mulch residue resulted in consistently lower estimates for rates of decay or disappearance of atrazine and pendimethalin in the surface soil.

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Copyright © 2003. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.32:1445–1454.