Testing the Greenhouse Emission Model (GEM) for Pesticides Applied via Drip Irrigation to Stone Wool Mats Growing Sweet Pepper in a Recirculation System

Louise Wipfler*, Jos J.T.I. Boesten, Erik A. van Os, Wim H.J. Beltman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Pesticide emissions to surface water from greenhouses with crops grown on substrates in open or closed systems may be significant. It is important, therefore, to test models such as the Greenhouse Emission Model (GEM), which was developed to assess these emissions as part of the Dutch authorization procedure for use of plant protection products in greenhouses. GEM was tested using an experiment in which imidacloprid and pymetrozine were applied via drip irrigation to stone wool mats growing sweet pepper. The irrigation system in such greenhouses consists of a mixing tank to prepare the nutrient solution and a series of tanks to treat and recirculate the drain water back to the mixing tank. Emissions may occur because (part of) this recirculation water may be discharged or leached to the surface water. GEM assumes that all tanks are perfectly mixed. GEM further assumes that the water in these mats is perfectly mixed and that the pesticide behavior can be simulated by assuming one perfectly mixed reservoir. The model predicted breakthrough of both pesticides out of the mats earlier than measured, and the measured maximum concentrations were approximately two times lower than predicted. We considered a series of possible causes, including a smaller water volume in the mats, a higher plant uptake factor, and sorption to the stone wool. The model performance improved by representing the mats as a sequence of two equally large tanks with plant uptake restricted to the first tank. We recommend to study the solute transport process and the distribution of plant roots in the mats in more detail to further underpin the hypothesis used and improve the model. After this first validation, the GEM model might also be used in other countries to forecast emissions of PPPs to surface water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number495
JournalHorticulturae
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • drip irrigation
  • greenhouse emission model
  • imidacloprid
  • model testing
  • pesticide emission to surface water
  • pymetrozine
  • soilless cultivation

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