Transport of water, bromide ion, nutrients and the pesticides bentazone and imidacloprid in a cracking, tile drained clay soil at Andelst, the Netherlands

J.H. Smelt, R.F.A. Hendriks, L.J.T. van der Pas, A.M. Matser, A. van den Toorn, K. Oostindie, O.M. van Dijk-Hooijer, J.J.T.I. Boesten, R.P. Scorza Júnior

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


The aim of this study was to perform a field experiment to collect a high quality data set suitable for validating and improving pesticide leaching models and nutrient leaching models for drained and cracking clay soils. The transport of water, bromide, nutrients and the pesticides bentazone and imidacloprid was studied on a 1.2 ha experimental plot. Moisture profiles and groundwater tables were measured, starting in November 1997. Winter wheat was sown on 23 October 1997 and harvested on 20 August 1998. Bentazone and bromide were applied at 7 April 1998; imidacloprid was applied at 27 May when the soil was almost completely covered by the crop. The amount present in soil was measured within 2 days after application (32 sampling cores) and was found to vary between 80% of the nominal dose (imidacloprid) to 110 % (for bentazone). Manuring and soil cultivations were as usual for the wheat crop. Soil profiles were sampled at eight times (16 cores at each date, last in April 1999). Drain flow was continuously recorded and the water flow proportionally sampled for analysis of the test compounds. Groundwater was sampled periodically from sets of permanently placed filters at four depths at 16 sites. Sorption isotherms of the pesticides were measured with soil from 0-25 cm. Transformation rates of the pesticides were measured at different temperatures in soil material from topsoil and subsoil layers. Soil hydraulic properties and shrinkage characteristics were measured in the laboratory. Meteorological data (i.e. rainfall, air temperature, global radiation, air humidity etc.) groundwater levels and soil temperatures at three depths were monitored continuously. After 56 days, about 80% of the bromide dose was taken up by the crop, which demonstrates that bromide is not a suitable tracer in cropped soil during the growing season. After that time the bromide was gradually released again into the soil. Preferential transport through cracks and macropores of all test compounds was measured both in summer and in winter. This resulted in the highest concentration of bromide and bentazone measured in drain water already 21 days after application following 56 mm rainfall. Imidacloprid was already detected in groundwater at 1.3-1.5 m depth, 11 days after application, following 65 mm rainfall. High peaks in nitrate concentrations in the groundwater at 1.00-1.50 m depth and in the drain water were detected within 14-18 days after the first fertilizer application, following 94 mm of rainfall. Extreme high peaks in concentrations of ortho-P and soluble organic-P were measured in the drain water at respectively 2 days and 37 after slurry application (the only phosphorus application during the experiment). For nitrate concentrations in the drain water there were indications for bypass by preferential flow of `clean` rainwater to the drains.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
Number of pages213
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1566-7197


  • leaching
  • pesticides
  • groundwater pollution
  • clay soils
  • nutrients
  • soil water movement
  • nitrates
  • bromide
  • bentazone
  • imidacloprid
  • nitrate
  • field experimentation
  • netherlands


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