DSSAT is a software package integrating the effects of soil, crop phenotype, weather and management options that allows users to ask “what if” questions and simulate results by conducting, in minutes on a desktop computer, experiments that would otherwise consume a significant part of an agronomist’s career. DSSAT has been in use for more than 15 years by researchers in over 100 countries.
DSSAT is a microcomputer software product that combines crop, soil and weather databases into standard formats for access by crop models and application programs. The user can then simulate multi-year outcomes of crop management strategies for different crops at any location in the world.
DSSAT also provides for validation of crop model outputs; thus allowing users to compare simulated outcomes with observed results. Crop model validation is accomplished by inputting the user’s minimum data, running the model, then comparing outputs. By simulating probable outcomes of crop management strategies, DSSAT offers users information with which to rapidly appraise new crops, products and practices for adoption.
The newest version of DSSAT (Version 4) incorporates changes to both the structure of the crop models and the interface to the models and associated analysis and utility programs. The DSSAT package incorporates models of 27 different crops with new tools that facilitate the creation and management of experimental, soil and weather data files. DSSAT v4 includes improved application programs for seasonal and sequence analyses that assess the economic risks and environmental impacts associated with irrigation, fertilizer and nutrient management, climate change, soil carbon sequestration, climate variability and precision management.
DSSAT is one of the principal products developed by the International Benchmark Sites Network for Agrotechnology Transfer (IBSNAT) project supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1983 to 1993. It has subsequently continued to be developed through collaboration among scientists from IFDC, the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, University of Guelph, University of Hawaii, Iowa State University and other scientists associated with ICASA.