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An overview of available crop growth and yield models for studies and assessments in agriculture

Di Paola, Arianna, Valentini, Riccardo, Santini, Monia
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2016 v.96 no.3 pp. 709-714
crop models, crop yield, production technology
The scientific community offers numerous crop models with different levels of sophistication. In such a wide range of crop models, users should have the possibility to choose the most suitable, in terms of detail, scale and representativeness, to their objectives. However, even when an appropriate choice is made, model limitations should be clarified such that modelling studies are put in the proper perspective and robust applications are achieved. This work is an overview of available models to simulate crop growth and yield. A summary matrix with more than 70 crop models is provided, storing the main model characteristics that can help users to choose the proper tool according to their purposes. Overall, we found that two main aspects of models, despite their importance, are not always clear from the published references, i.e. the versatility of the models, in terms of reliable transferability to different conditions, and the degree of complexity. Hence, the developers of models should be encouraged to pay more attention to clarifying the model limitations and limits of applicability, and users should make an effort in proper model selection, to save time often devoted to iteration of tuning steps to force an inappropriate model to be adapted to their own purpose. © 2015 Society of Chemical Industry