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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Sequential use of the STICS crop model and of the MACRO pesticide fate model to simulate pesticides leaching in cropping systems

Lammoglia, Sabine-Karen; Moeys, Julien; Barriuso, Enrique; Larsbo, Mats; Marin-Benito, Jesus-Maria; Justes, Eric; Alletto, Lionel; Ubertosi, Marjorie; Nicolardot, Bernard; Munier-Jolain, Nicolas; Mamy, Laure


The current challenge in sustainable agriculture is to introduce new cropping systems to reduce pesticides use in order to reduce ground and surface water contamination. However, it is difficult to carry out in situ experiments to assess the environmental impacts of pesticide use for all possible combinations of climate, crop, and soils; therefore, in silico tools are necessary. The objective of this work was to assess pesticides leaching in cropping systems coupling the performances of a crop model (STICS) and of a pesticide fate model (MACRO). STICS-MACRO has the advantage of being able to simulate pesticides fate in complex cropping systems and to consider some agricultural practices such as fertilization, mulch, or crop residues management, which cannot be accounted for with MACRO. The performance of STICS-MACRO was tested, without calibration, from measurements done in two French experimental sites with contrasted soil and climate properties. The prediction of water percolation and pesticides concentrations with STICS-MACRO was satisfactory, but it varied with the pedoclimatic context. The performance of STICS-MACRO was shown to be similar or better than that of MACRO. The improvement of the simulation of crop growth allowed better estimate of crop transpiration therefore of water balance. It also allowed better estimate of pesticide interception by the crop which was found to be crucial for the prediction of pesticides concentrations in water. STICS-MACRO is a new promising tool to improve the assessment of the environmental risks of pesticides used in cropping systems.


Modelling; Cropping systems; Pesticides; Agricultural practices; MACRO; STICS

Published in

Environmental Science and Pollution Research
2017, Volume: 24, number: 8, pages: 6895-6909

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
      SDG2 Zero hunger

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Soil Science

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