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Introducing the 2-DROPS model for two-dimensional simulation of crop roots and pesticide within the soil-root zone

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Publication details

JournalScience of the Total Environment
DateAccepted/In press - 9 Feb 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2017
DatePublished (current) - 15 May 2017
Pages (from-to)966-975
Early online date16/02/17
Original languageEnglish


Mathematical models of pesticide fate and behaviour in soils have been developed over the last 30 years. Most models simulate fate of pesticides in a 1-dimensional system successfully, supporting a range of applications where the prediction target is either bulk residues in soil or receiving compartments outside of the soil zone. Nevertheless, it has been argued that the 1-dimensional approach is limiting the application of knowledge on pesticide fate under specific pesticide placement strategies, such as seed, furrow and band applications to control pests and weeds.
We report a new model (2-DROPS; 2-Dimensional ROots and Pesticide Simulation) parameterised for maize and we present simulations investigating the impact of pesticide properties (thiamethoxam, chlorpyrifos, clothianidin and tefluthrin), pesticide placement strategies (seed treatment, furrow, band and broadcast applications), and soil properties (two silty clay loam and two loam top soils with either silty clay loam, silt loam, sandy loam or unconsolidated bedrock in the lower horizons) on microscale pesticide distribution in the soil profile.
2-DROPS is to our knowledge the first model that simulates temporally- and spatially-explicit water and pesticide transport in the soil profile under the influence of explicit and stochastic development of root segments. This allows the model to describe microscale movement of pesticide in relation to root segments, and constitutes an important addition relative to existing models. The example runs demonstrate that the pesticide moves locally towards root segments due to water extraction for plant transpiration, that the water holding capacity of the top soil determines pesticide transport towards the soil surface in response to soil evaporation, and that the soil type influences the pesticide distribution zone in all directions. 2-DROPS offers more detailed information on microscale root and pesticide appearance compared to existing models and provides the possibility to investigate strategies targeting control of pests at the root/soil interface.

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