Abstract: Losses of pirimiphos-methyl and benalaxyl in runoff water from clay soil plots cultivated with potatoes and of differing soil surface slopes were determined over approximately 120 days (1 October 1999-28 January 2000). The plot slopes were 0, 1, 2.5 and 5%, and soil erosion increased with the slope from 610 to 1760kgha(-1). The runoff of surface water was between 3.1 and 16.6% of the rainfall. Surface runoff was highest for the fifth and seventh runoff events due to rainfall, 51 days and 72 days after the first pesticide application. The maximum concentrations of the two pesticides in runoff occurred in the plots with the greatest slope (5%) during the fifth runoff event, November 21, 1999 reaching 8.4 and 12.3 microg litre(-1) for pirimiphos-methyl and 17.8 and 20.2 microg litre(-1) for benalaxyl in tilled and untilled plots respectively. The cumulative losses of pirimiphos-methyl in surface runoff from tilled and untilled plots with a slope 5% were estimated at only 0.37 and 0.59% of the initial applied active ingredient, respectively, while for plots with a slope 0% the percentages were 0.013 and 0.018%. For benalaxyl the corresponding values from tilled and untilled plots were 1.69 and 1.76% (slope 5%), and 0.062 and 0.085 (slope 0%). Degradation of the pesticides in the topsoil was monitored from October 1999 and May 2000. Cultivation of potatoes decreased the half-life of the two pesticides compared to the untilled fields, for pirimiphos-methyl from 16.7 to 9.2 days and for benalaxyl from 26.7 to 12.6 days. The slope of soil surface and the different sorption capacities for the compounds are the main parameters which influenced the transportation of studied pesticides, pirimiphos-methyl and benalaxyl residues via surface water in soil-water systems.
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