Main content area

OILCROP-SUN: A development, growth, and yield model of the sunflower crop

Villalobos, F.J., Hall, A.J., Ritchie, J.T., Orgaz, F.
Agronomy journal 1996 v.88 no.3 pp. 403-415
growth models, Helianthus annuus, simulation models, phenology, accuracy, crop yield, prediction, nitrogen content, leaf area index, plant development, root systems, source-sink relationships, nitrogen, nutrient availability, nutrient uptake, irrigated conditions, dry environmental conditions, soil water content, grains, model validation
Crop simulation models are important tools for agronomic management strategy evaluation, particularly under rainfed conditions. This paper describes the structure and testing of OILCROP-SUN, a process-oriented model of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) crop. The model simulates organ biomass and N content, leaf area index, and soil water and N balances with a daily time step. Daily weather data, soil physical and chemical characteristics, and initial contents of water and N are required inputs. Three cultivar-specific parameters synthesize crop responses to temperature and photoperiod during development, and two cultivar-specific parameters define potential grain number per capitulum and potential kernel growth rate. Tested against independent data sets, the model generated good predictions of the durations of the sowing-emergence (range 7 to 32 d; root mean square error [RMSE], observed vs. simulated: 3.7 d) and emergence-anthesis phases (range 52 to 146 d; RMSE between 2.9 and 4.3 d, depending on the cultivar). The model also simulated seasonal crop biomass and leaf area dynamics for irrigated and rainfed crops sown at two densities satisfactorily, as well as aerial biomass (range 5 to 15 t ha-1; RMSE 1.7 t ha-1) and grain yield at maturity (range 1.0 to 6.2 t ha-1; RMSE 0.8 t ha-1) for irrigated and rainfed crops sown at a range of population densities (0.5 to 10 plants m-2). We conclude that OILCROP-SUN can be used to simulate biomass and grain yields over a wide range of conditions.