Volume 24, Number 6-7, September-November 2004
Crop model STICS (Simulateur mulTIdisciplinaire pour les Cultures Standard)
Page(s) 423 - 435
Agronomie 24 (2004) 423-435
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2004039

The STICS model to predict nitrate leaching following agricultural practices

Nathalie Schnebelena, b, Bernard Nicoullaudc, Hocine Bourennanec, Alain Couturierc, Bernard Verbequed, Christian Revalierd, Ary Bruande and Emmanuel Ledouxf

a  Unité Infosol, INRA (Orléans), Domaine de Limère, avenue de la Pomme de Pin, BP 20619, Ardon, 45166 Olivet Cedex, France
b  SGR Aquitaine, BRGM, 24 avenue Léonard de Vinci, 33600 Pessac, France
c  Unité Science du Sol, INRA (Orléans), BP 20619, Ardon, 45166 Olivet Cedex, France
d  Chambre d'Agriculture du Loiret, BP 9020, 45921 Orléans Cedex 9, France
e  ISTO, Université d'Orléans, Géosciences, BP 6759, 45067 Orléans Cedex 2, France
f  Centre d'Informatique Géologique, ENSMP, 77305 Fontainebleau, France

(Received 16 June 2003; accepted 28 May 2004)

Abstract - The aim of this paper was to develop an upscaling approach for the soil-crop model STICS in order to predict the impact of agricultural practices on nitrate leaching on both plot and regional scales. A case study was carried out on a "Nitrate Vulnerable Zone" located in central France. The performance of the spatial approach was evaluated by accounting for all the spatial and temporal variability existing within the studied area. The results indicate that N leaching and nitrate concentration in drainage water were slightly underestimated; by 3 kg N·ha-1 (16%) and 8 mg NO3-·L-1 (11%), respectively. The STICS scaling approach was used to assess the effectiveness of "Good Agricultural Practice" established within the area over a seven-year period. The simulation results provided evidence that such a practice had reduced the nitrate concentration by about 30% (36 mg NO3-·L-1). However, the rate of nitrate leaching remains too large and further improvements to agricultural practices are required.

Key words: crop model / STICS / upscaling / agricultural practices / nitrate leaching / decision support

Corresponding author: Nathalie Schnebelen

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004