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Incorporating pesticide rinsate biobeds

Farming Smarter Projects

Timeline: 2019-2022

Project contact: Jamie Puchinger

Abstract

This project aims to design a large-scale biobed specifically adapted to prairie growers. A mobile unit will be built to promote the adoption of on-farm pesticide rinsate biobeds and demonstrate their potential in helping food producers reduce water contamination by pesticides. We will accomplish this by using first-hand knowledge of biobed operation and construction while implementing an on-site permanent biobed here at Farming Smarter. Sharing and using these skills along with demonstrating the results to event participants and area producers aligns with our goal to aid the Alberta Farming Community.

Objectives

  1. 100% of Farming Smarter rinsate is biofiltered by 2020
  2.  50 on farm biobeds implemented by 2023

Method

Location: Lethbridge AB

Lead Claudia Sheedy of biobed group Agriculture Canada in Lethbridge

This project aims to further research and refine pesticide rinsate biobed technology to accommodate farming equipment, namely pesticide sprayers size, more typical of the Canadian Prairies. The work will focus on the development of a collection pad (trough) that can accommodate large sprayer booms, approaches to treat challenging pesticides, biobed life-cycle analysis and genomic work to help understand pesticide degradation pathways.

The methodology is designed to address specific concerns and questions raised by prairie food producers regarding biobeds and to meet the 3 objectives stated earlier in the proposal. The scientific component of the project consists of three separate but complementary components:
1. Approaches to degrade challenging pesticides and improve overall pesticide removal rates.
2. Biobed life-cycle analysis: to determine the longevity of pesticide rinsate biobeds under Prairie conditions and a worst-case scenario (large waste volumes of a large number of different pesticides)
3. Biobed genomics to help identify pesticide degradation pathways, coupled with pesticide metabolites identification and quantification.

A demonstration biobed easily accessible and actively used to remediate pesticide waste from the research farm will help promote on-farm adoption. In addition, the research farm represents a worst-case scenario where we use a large number of different pesticides annually (more than 50 pesticides) and generate a large volume of rinsate due to the multiple changes of tank mixes required daily to spray small plots with different crops and requirements. Pesticide removal efficiency under such conditions is bound to be lower than on private farming operations that have fewer pesticides and generate smaller volumes of rinsate overall.

Biobed System quote

Results

Farming Smarter will have an onsite biobed during summer 2019. Ask to see it if you visit our site for an event. We will update you as we move forward. Check back in 2022 for more detailed results.

Recommendations

Please check back in 2022 when we have detailed recommendations to give. Thanks!

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