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Dr. Volker Laabs Global Sustainability & Product Stewardship - Crop Protection BASF S.E. EU Stakeholder Workshop, 26 April 2012, Brussels. Introduction of Best Management Practices (BMPs): Mitigation Measures for Runoff. Best Management Practice Mitigation measures follow risk diagnosis.

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Dr. Volker Laabs

Global Sustainability & Product Stewardship - Crop Protection


EU Stakeholder Workshop, 26 April 2012, Brussels

Introduction of Best Management Practices (BMPs):

Mitigation Measures for Runoff

Best Management Practice

Mitigation measures follow risk diagnosis

  • Runoff risk diagnosis

  • Basic runoff risk

  • Soil management

  • Cropping practices

  • Landscape factors and concentrated flow issues

  • Mitigated runoff risk

  • Optimized soil management

  • Adapted cropping practices

  • Use of buffers and/or retention structures

  • Optimized crop protection practices

Selection of suitable measures…

…from toolbox of mitigation measures

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Key Mitigation Challenge for Runoff:

Increase infiltration of water

Picture: Jeremy Dyson, Syngenta

General BMP Structure

Harmonized approach



What to do?

How to do it?

A clear communication in form of a general recommendation statement, which will form the core of the harmonized EU BMP.

A detailed description of requirements, materials, conditions, and parameters to consider in order to realize the recommendation goal

(Subject to country-specific modifications in national BMP toolboxes)

Example BMP

Runoff mitigation

  • Statement:

  • Manage tramlines to avoid concentrated runoff.

  • Specifications:

  • Whenever possible, tramlines should run across the slope.

  • If possible, shift tramlines in field from year to year

  • Minimize soil compaction by low-pressure tires

  • Tramlines where runoff occurs should be- disked after passing of the tractor OR- vegetated OR- equipped with bunds.

  • A deep soil compaction under tramlines should be broken up mechanically.


Category: Soil Management

  • Reduce tillage intensity

  • Adopt lowest possible tillageintensity

  • Improving aggregation andpore continuity

  • Reducing slaking/micro-erosion due to mulch

  • Do contour tilling/disking

  • Soil cultivation followscontour lines in fields

  • Enhances infiltration dueto across-slope ridges

  • Manage surfacesoil compaction

  • Break soil crusts

  • Maintain residues onsurface

  • Maximizing infiltration intopsoil

  • Manage tramlines

  • Position tramlines across slopes

  • Shift tramlines from year to year

  • Disk or vegetate tramlines

  • Break deeper compactions

  • Avoiding concentrated runoff in tramlines

  • Prepare rough seedbed

  • Maintain clods on soil surface by adapted tillage

  • Improving infiltration on rough surface

  • Manage subsoil compaction

  • Avoid working too moist soils

  • Break compaction by mechanical means or improve with deep-rooting intercrops

  • Optimizing deep infiltration of water to subsoil

  • Establish in-field bunds

  • Build bunds in vulnerable areas

  • Avoiding concentrated runoff


Category: Croppingpractices

  • Use crop rotation

  • Design crop rotation to increase soil organic matter and optimize soil structure and cover

  • Improving soil aggregation

  • Use annual cover crops

  • Maximize cover crop use to avoid bare soil

  • Reducing rainsplash erosion, increasing soil organic matter content, improving aggregation

  • Do strip cropping

  • Position field strips across slopes

  • Alternate row and broadcast crops

  • Breaking up long slopes

  • Use perennial cover crops

  • Use suitable plant species to vegetate rows in plantations

  • Protecting soil fromrainsplash erosion

  • Improving aggregationof soil and surfaceroughness


Category: Vegetative buffers

  • Use in-field buffers

  • Position buffers to break up long/steep slopes

  • Stopping and infiltrating water at source

  • Manage field access areas

  • Vegetate field access areas

  • Stopping formation of linear runoff towards roads

  • Establish talweg buffers

  • Position buffer in areas of concentrated runoff formation

  • Avoiding runoff in talweg positions

  • Establish hedges

  • Position at downslopeedge of field

  • Stopping runoff from exiting field; providing wind shield and biodiversity benefits

  • Use riparian buffers

  • Position buffers alongsidewater bodies

  • Stopping runoff beforeentering ditches/streams/lakes

  • Establish/maintain woodlands

  • Position at downslope/riparian landscape position

  • Stopping runoff in landscape; providing wind shield and biodiversity benefits

  • Use edge-of-field buffers

  • Position buffer at downslope field edge

  • Stopping runoff from exiting field


Category: Retention structures

  • Use edge-of-field bunds

  • Construct at downslope position where water tends to exit the field

  • Stopping runoff from exiting the field

  • Establish retention ponds/artificial wetlands

  • Position at locations where runoff is unavoidable and occurs regularly

  • Capturing, retaining and slowly infiltrating runoff in the landscape; additional biodiversity benefits

  • Establish vegetatedditches

  • Position at locations whererunoff is unavoidableand occurs regularly

  • Capturing, retaining, andslowly infiltrating runoffin the landscape


Category: Adapteduseofpesticides

  • Adapt application timing

  • Apply pesticides only when no significant rainfall is forecast (e.g. for ≥2 days)

  • Reducing pesticide concentrations in potential runoff

  • Adapt product and rate selection

  • Chose products according to crop protection requirements

  • If water contamination does not improve in spite of other mitigation measures (point, diffuse) …

  • Optimize product choice with regard to- seasonal timing- use rate- substance properties

  • If possible, minimize treated area via band or sensor-based spraying

  • Reducing pollution of known water contaminants

  • Optimize seasonal timing

  • Apply pesticides outside of main groundwater recharge / drainflow season

  • Reducing pesticideconcentations inrunoff and drainflow


Summary: Toolbox for flexible mitigation

Mitigation measure toolbox:

Soil management

• Reduce tillage intensity

• Manage tramlines

• Prepare rough seedbed

• Establish in-field bunds

• Manage surface soil compaction

• Manage subsoil compaction

• Do contour tilling/disking

Cropping practices

• Use Crop rotation

• Do strip cropping

• Use annual cover crops

• Use perennial cover crops

Vegetative buffers

• Use in-field buffers

• Establish talweg buffers

• Use riparian buffers

• Use edge-of-field buffers

• Manage field access areas

• Establish hedges

• Establish/maintain woodlands

Retention structures

• Use edge-of-field bunds

• Establish vegetated ditches

• Establish Retention ponds/artificial wetlands

Adapted use of pesticides

• Adapt application timing

• Optimize seasonal timing

• Adapt product and rate selection

Optimized irrigation

• Adapt irrigation technique

• Optimize irrigation timing and rate


Last step: Catchmentriskmanagement plan

Example: Risk management plan for Fontaine du Theil, FR (Arvalis)

Most difficult part: Making implementation of measures happen