The effect of soil properties and weather on herbicide persistence and injury to following crops were studied at a site near Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, with undulating topography that included no-tillage and conventional tillage systems on adjacent fields. Soil pH ranged from 5.2 (lower slope no-tillage) to 7.8 (upper slope conventional tillage) and soil organic matter content ranged from 2.3% (upper slope conventional tillage) to 4.4% (lower slope no-tillage). During the years when the experiments were conducted rainfall ranged from < 50% of normal to > 150% of normal. During dry years atrazine and metsulfuron severely injured wheat and lentil crops, seeded 1 yr after herbicide application, on upper slope locations. The most severe injury occurred on the upper slope conventional tillage location. In years with high rainfall, no crop injury occurred 1 yr after atrazine and metsulfuron application on either upper or lower slope locations in both tillage systems. Imazamox plus imazethapyr caused almost 100% injury in the lower slope position in the no-tillage system (pH 5.2) in the driest year. Following-crop injury due to the imidazolinone herbicides decreased with increasing rainfall and increasing soil pH. The most severe injury to following crops seemed to occur when herbicide dissipation was dependent on microbial activity and rainfall was below normal.
Nomenclature: Atrazine; imazamox; imazethapyr; metsulfuron; lentil, Lens culinaris Medic; wheat, Triticum aestivum L.