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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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MicMac Design Project

MicMac-Design Project

WP2.2 : Quantification and modelling of pesticides fluxes


The main objective of this task is to provide a quantitative assessment of pesticide transfer for each designed cropping system.

Workplan and Methods:

  • Field measurements

On the two experimental sites, pesticides will be quantified in the water drainage using ceramic cups and fibreglass wick lysimeters installed at 1 m depth and maintained in place in the different cropping systems. Pesticides mass leached will be calculated from their concentrations in water and corresponding percolate volume.

These data will then be used to calculate percentage loss (by leaching) of agrochemicals of each cropping system.

To complete water monitoring and to approach pesticide stock in soils, surfaces soils will be sampled after harvest and their pesticide content will be measured. Thus, impact as pesticide accumulation in soil will be evaluated.

Pesticide impacts on air will be assessed by measuring volatilization flux for one pesticide. This experiment will be done at the field scale with semi-controlled system (wind tunnels) in order to acquire field data which will be used to validate models currently under development.

The choice of the molecules for the monitoring will depend on the cropping system (designed in WP1). This choice will be dictated as well by the pesticides properties in order to focus on molecules with different behaviours (in terms of retention, degradation, volatilization and solubility) and therefore likely to pollute the different environmental compartments (soil, air, water).

The quantification of the molecules and their metabolites will be conducted in a laboratory accredited Cofrac (French organism of accreditation).

A total of 400 soil solution samples per year approximately will be collected and analyzed for the two experimental sites.

  • Modelling

Modelling pesticide transfer to water and air in the different agronomic situations will be based on the use of several models and their comparison. PRZM (Pesticide Root Zone Model; Carsel et al. 1998), PEARL (Pesticide Emission Assessment at Regional and Local scales; Boesten and Van der Linden 1991) and MACRO (Jarvis 1994 and 2007) will be used.

One originality of the project will be to use the crop model STICS to provide input data of crop development required in the different pesticide fate models.

Volt’Air model (Bedos et al. 2009) will serve as a reference for pesticide volatilisation from soil surface. The Volt'Air results will be compared to those obtained from PRZM, PEARL and MACRO which also include a volatilization module.

Different scenarios based on the various designed cropping systems will be investigated through simulations in order to assess the risk of pesticide transfer.

Before this step, the performance of the different models to correctly predict leaching data measured on the two sites will have to be assessed in order to choose that which be integrated in the MicMac meta-model via the RECORD software platform (see WP6), the final goal being to include pesticide dispersion in scenarios predicted by the cropping system evaluation tool.


The main partners associated to this task are the Graduate School of Purpan and the EGC unit of INRA.