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Experimental examination of solute transport by surface runoff from low-angle slopes

Walton, R.S., Volker, R.E., Bristow, K.L. and Smettem, K.R.J. (2000) Experimental examination of solute transport by surface runoff from low-angle slopes. Journal of Hydrology, 233 (1-4). pp. 19-36.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-1694(00)00226-2
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Abstract

The removal of chemicals in solution, by overland flow from agricultural land has the potential to be a significant source of chemical loss from zero-till and surface mulched farming systems. The objective of this study was to determine the magnitude of solute loss by surface runoff from agricultural systems. Previous experiments have enhanced the understanding of the exchange process, but the initial soil conditions together with the tracer application method in these experiments have meant that in some cases the results have limited applicability to field situations. In this study, two different sets of experiments were carried out to determine the magnitude of solute loss by surface runoff. These experiments entailed the surface application of bromide to (1) field scale plots 18 m long by 2 m wide and (2) repacked soil cores 236 mm in diameter; followed by the application of simulated rainfall in both cases. The most substantial finding of the field experiments was that the quantities of solute in surface runoff varied greatly with soil type and structure (0.07-14.9% of the applied bromide). Also, on some soils, large quantities of tracer were measured in the surface runoff even after several hours of infiltration. The experiments on soil cores showed that soil structure plays an important role in the quantity of chemical that may be transported in the surface runoff. These field results showed that, in certain systems, solute movement by overland flow is an important transport mechanism, which should be considered when budgeting for chemical loss.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/38131
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