Groundwater Residues of Altrazine and Alachlor Under Water-table Management Properties

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Kalita, Prasanta
Kanwar, Rameshwar
Baker, James
Melvin, Stewart
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Kanwar, Rameshwar
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

This study was conducted to investigate the effects of various water-table management (WTM) practices on the concentrations of two surface-applied herbicides, atrazine and alachlor, in a shallow groundwater system. Groundwater samples were collected by installing piezometers and suction tubes at Iowa State University’s research centers near Ames and Ankeny during three corn-growing seasons, 1989-1991. At the Ames site, experiments were conducted by maintaining constant water-table depths (WTD) of 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 m in nine field-type lysimeters, and groundwater samples were collected from various depths during the corn-growing seasons. At the Ankeny site, a dualpipe subirrigation system was installed on a 0.85 ha field, and variable water-table depths were maintained. Analysis of water samples collected in 1989, 1990, and 1991 clearly indicates that atrazine and alachlor concentrations in groundwater could be substantially reduced by maintaining shallow WTD during the growing season. It was also observed that atrazine concentrations were higher than those of alachlor. Alachlor was not detected in many samples; however, atrazine was detected in all samples, with high concentrations at the Ames site at the 0.9 m WTD, and at the Ankeny site at deeper WTD. Pesticide concentrations in groundwater decreased with soil depth and time. Results of this study suggest a positive influence of WTM practices in reducing pesticide concentrations in groundwater.


This article is from Transactions of the ASAE 40 (1997): 605–614, doi:10.13031/2013.21319. Posted with permission.

Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1997