Advances in Crop Modeling

Comprehensive systems simulation models can simulate the dynamic processes of crop growth and development capturing their dynamic and nonlinear interactions with environmental variables. Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) (Mc Cown et al. 1996) is a cropping systems model suite, which was developed and validated across several environments, especially, in the semi-arid tropics. Hammer et al. (1996) analyzed the skill of seasonal climate forecasting in the management of wheat crop with fixed and tactical decisions of applying N in a highly variable climate to increase profit and minimize risk. Gadgil et al. (1999), through their simulation work on "Farming Strategies for a Variable Climate", anticipated considerable impact of seasonal rainfall forecasting on farm-level decisions of peanut growers in Anantapur using DSSAT. Carberry et al. (2000) demonstrated through a simulation case study that SOI contributed skill in improving crop management decisions over two-year rotations in Australia. Using APSIM simulation analyses, Nageswara Rao et al. (2004) showed that intercropping of peanut with short duration (SD) pigeonpea can minimize the risk of crop failure, and verified this concept for two years in farmers' fields in several villages of Anantapur during the period 1999-2002. APSIM model has been successfully used for climate forecast based agricultural/crop management options across several countries including, India (Gadgil et al. 2002) and Australia (Carberry et al. 2000; Meinke and Hochman 2000; Nelson et al. 2002) to deal with crop systems/management options under varying environmental conditions without much limitations for data requirements. Recent advances in the predictability of seasonal climate and wider adaptability of cropping systems models to simulate crop yields based on seasonal climate forecasts, would provide opportunities for farmers to discuss several management options, before opting for a suitable crop management decision based on their available resources.

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