Assessing Crop Production, Nutrient Management, Climatic Risk and Environmental Sustainability with Simulation Models
Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA
May 9-19, 2011
Today more than ever, increased crop production depends on judicious use of resources. In addition, issues such as climate change, climate variability, soil carbon sequestration, biofuels, long-term food security and environmental sustainability have become increasingly important. Computer simulation models of the soil/plant/atmosphere system can make a valuable contribution to both furthering our understanding of the processes that determine crop responses and predicting crop performance, resource use and environmental impacts for different environments and management scenarios. User-oriented simulation models greatly facilitate the task of optimizing crop growth and deriving recommendations concerning crop management. They can also be used to determine the potential impact of climate change on crop production and long-term soil carbon sequestration, or provide management scenarios for adapting to climate change and variability.
IFDC, in collaboration with the International Consortium for Agricultural Systems Applications (ICASA) and several other institutions, hosted a training program on DSSAT Version 4.5 on May 9-19, 2011, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA. The overall goal of this training program was to familiarize participants with the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) and the Cropping System Model (CSM) for the simulation of crop growth and yield, soil and plant water, nutrient and carbon dynamics, and the application of models to real-world problems.
Training Program Objectives
The overall goal of this training program was to familiarize participants with a comprehensive computer model for the simulation of crop growth and yield, soil and plant water, nutrient and carbon dynamics and their application to real-world problems.
Specifically the program focused on:
- Operation of the Windows-based DSSAT Version 4.5 software.
- Description of the DSSAT- CSM and its modules, such as CROPGRO and CERES, and the science embedded in the models.
- Minimum data requirements and experimental data collection for systems simulation.
- Integration of crop simulation models with database management and Geographical Information Systems.
- Application of the DSSAT-CSM model to improve management of cropping systems.
This training program was designed for agronomists, soil scientists, meteorologists and economists from national and international agricultural research institutes and universities, as well as policymakers in charge of agricultural productivity and planning.
- Were university graduates currently engaged in crop production or agro-ecosystems-related research, teaching, extension, outreach or planning.
- Had some understanding of crop and soil science and were relatively familiar with the terminology used in these fields. An in-depth level of knowledge, however, was not a prerequisite.
- Were familiar with personal computers and the Windows operating environment.
Training Program Features
The training program:
- Described a practical approach for simulating effects of soil, weather, management and pest factors on crop production.
- Demonstrated how processes of crop growth and development, water use, uptake of water and nutrients and carbon dynamics can be simulated.
- Made extensive use of “hands-on” sessions that apply the DSSAT-CSM model to cropping systems in various regions of the world.
- Described procedures for collecting and managing crop, weather and soil data for model evaluation.
- Gave participants the opportunity to work with their own data and determine the accuracy of the models for application to specific problems.
- Analyzed management alternatives for single seasons or over long-term crop rotations.
- Concentrated on specific applications that include irrigation, fertilizer and nutrient management, climate change, soil carbon sequestration, climate variability and precision management.
- Assessed economic risks and environmental impacts associated with agricultural production.
Faculty lecturing in this training program included:
Dr. G. Hoogenboom, Washington State University
Dr. K.J. Boote, University of Florida
Dr. L.A. Hunt, University of Guelph, Canada
Dr. J.W. Jones, University of Florida
Dr. J. Lisazo, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain
Dr. U. Singh, IFDC
Dr. J. W. White, USDA-ARS-ALARC
Dr. P.W. Wilkens, IFDC
...and other experts from the International Consortium
for Agricultural Systems Applications (ICASA)
For more information:
Training and Workshop Coordination Unit
P.O. Box 2040
Muscle Shoals, Alabama 35662, U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 (256) 381-6600
Telefax: +1 (256) 381-7408
As a nonprofit organization, IFDC does not finance or sponsor any participant.