Landscape-induced differences in soil variability and other parameters have potential effects on herbicide sorption, persistence, degradation, and, ultimately, efficacy. This study examined the spatial variability of herbicide efficacy across an eastern South Dakota field in continuous corn. Atrazine and alachlor had been applied for the previous 10 yr. The spatial variability observed in weed control was compared with herbicide sorption (Kd), mineralization rate, and first-order half-life (t1/2), and field herbicide dissipation rates (DT50). Spatial structure was present in atrazine mineralization, weed biomass, and corn biomass data. The amount of atrazine and alachlor sorbed to soil collected from the summit position of the field was 10 and 20% less, respectively, than the amounts sorbed to backslope or toeslope soils. Generally, both herbicides had faster mineralization rates and shorter t1/2 in summit than in backslope or toeslope soils. Weed biomass was correlated positively with elevation and total amount of atrazine mineralized, whereas corn biomass was correlated negatively with these parameters. These findings suggest that weed control can be improved by accounting for the landscape positional effects on differential herbicide mineralization and dissipation in fields.
Nomenclature: Alachlor; atrazine; corn, Zea mays L.