Department Environmental Chemistry

Site-adapted agriculture project (Saa-P)

The project aimed at developing tools for delineating risk areas for diffuse losses of herbicides at the scale of single fields within agricultural catchments. Such spatial predictions would allow for targeting mitigation measures efficiently in the landscape. For mpractical purposes these predictions should be based on generally available data.

In 2009, a field study was conducted in the Canton of Zurich for investigating the relevant processes in the field and for creating a data set for testing the model predictions.

The field data revealed the relevance of connectivity between the fields and the open stream for the herbicide transfer. Despite low loss rates of the compounds, high peak concentrations were observed in the stream.

The spatial model-based predictions reflected the actual losses only to a limited degree due to model structure and input uncertainty. It seems that for practical purposes field visits are more promissing than a model-based approach.