A new 'smart tool' aims to help growers mitigate the potential for key active ingredients and their residues to leach.

BASF’s wHen2g0 smart tool gives growers accurate field-specific decision-making information.

Developed for BASF by Agrimetrics, the recently updated software combines data from, Defra, the Met Office and the Environment Agency to calculate the risk of leaching when applying products containing metazachlor and quinmerac.

With most data-fields pre-populated, growers can get field-specific forecasts quickly and easily; in less than a minute.

“Current guidelines from the voluntary initiative, OSR Herbicides, are reliant on dates,” said BASF stewardship and value chain manager Paul Goddard.

“While these are really useful straightforward lines in the sand, they are based on averages and in some years, this has the potential to push growers in a tight window for applications, when other variables – such as wind – may make applications inadvisable.

"We wanted to improve on the foundations of the initiative and give growers something smarter. The wHen2g0 tool is the result of that work.”

For Colin Chappell, who farms 645ha surrounded by watercourses and opposite a pumping station, the ability to quickly record his efforts to mitigate leaching, is highly valuable.

When it comes to the Environment Agency, it's your responsibility to prove you haven’t caused a problem or that you’ve done everything in your power to prevent a situation. wHen2gO gives you that evidence and it’s really easy to use.

Farming so close to an extraction point means preventing field losses is a high priority for Chappell. He uses a variety of techniques to prevent residues entering the watercourse.

“I never have bare soils overwinter,” he said. “I plant cover crops to filter or hold onto residues, I’ve buffer zones around every field and try not to move soils too much – keeping straw and other organic matter on the soil surface really helps too."