Seasonal terbuthylazine monitoring in olive groves under conventional tillage

María Jesús Calderón, Elena De Luna, José Alfonso Gómez, María del Carmen Hermosín


During the last two decades there have been several herbicide pollution episodes of both surface and groundwater in areas where olive groves are established. These episodes always coincided with rainy periods. Understanding the evolution of herbicides in this type of plantation depending on the season of application is critical, especially when conventional tillage is used. Field monitoring of terbuthylazine in the first 2 cm of soil and in runoff water and sediment yield was carried out after winter and spring soil applications. Soil disappearance of terbuthylazine was associated with the first important rainfall event in both seasons (41 mm in spring and 30 mm in winter). At the end of the experiment (85 days and 103 mm rain in spring, and 107 days and 148 mm in winter), no terbuthylazine soil residues were found in winter, whereas 15% of terbuthylazine applied remained in spring. A higher percentage of the applied terbuthylazine in runoff water was recovered in winter (0.53%) than in spring (0.16%). However, no differences in terbuthylazine residues in sediment yields were observed (0.45% in spring and 0.46% winter). These data suggest that the dissipation of terbuthylazine from soil is related not only to the runoff process but also to other processes like leaching, which are more relevant at the end of the winter season.

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With the patronage of
Avda. de Cantabria, s/n - 28660, Boadilla del Monte
Madrid, España