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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 /

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