Agriculture can be a major nonpoint source (NPS) of nutrient and pesticide contamination in the environment. Available databases do not provide accurate and dynamic data on fertilizer and pesticide application, which limits the ability of complex watershed models to simulate contaminant loads into impaired water bodies. A model for estimating agricultural nutrient and pesticide input for watershed modeling has been developed. Climate, soils, and major agricultural operations are considered within the model, so that it can be adapted to any watershed or subregion within a watershed. The timing of the agricultural operations is a function of the weather data, providing realistic results at daily, monthly, or annual application rates. The model also predicts irrigation demand and biomass production, which can be used to calibrate the model. Model output can be used in any watershed model that considers agricultural land uses. Two case studies were evaluated, using grape vineyards in the Napa River and strawberry production in Newport Bay as examples. The predicted time to maturity corresponded well with actual data. Irrigation and fertilizer needs were very sensitive to weather input. Although the model can generate weather from long-term averages, the simulated results are best when at least observed precipitation and temperature are provided, to capture extreme events. The model has data for 98 crops and 126 pesticides, based on the California Department of Pesticide Regulation database. The databases are easily modifiable by the user to adapt them to local conditions. The output from AgInput is much needed for watershed modeling and for development of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), based on realistic targets of irrigation, nutrient, and pesticide inputs. The model is available for free download at http://www2.bren.ucsb.edu/~keller/watershed.htm .
- Agricultural source
- Nonpoint source
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Environmental Science