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Evaluating SHOOTGRO 4.0 as a potential winter wheat management tool in the Czech Republic

Zalud, Z., McMaster, G.S., Wilhelm, W.W.
European journal of agronomy 2003 v.19 no.4 pp. 495
Triticum aestivum, winter wheat, plant cultural practices, plant development, flowering, phenology, grain yield, simulation models, statistical models, Czech Republic
Improving current cultural practices often involves more precise timing of the management activity based on crop development. Using crop simulation models to predict crop development and phenology has several problems. First, most existing models do not simulate sufficient developmental and phenological detail required to optimize selected management practices. Second, crop models normally emphasize the cultivars and conditions for the region in which they were developed, and may not generate satisfactory results when applied in new regions. Lastly, when users apply these models to new regions they often lack the specific data and knowledge of the model to adequately determine the crop parameters. Our objective was to assess whether the simulation model SHOOTGRO 4.0, which had the necessary level of developmental and phenological detail required for use as a management decision aid, could be easily and adequately parameterized to simulate winter wheat phenology and grain yield in the Czech Republic. We found that only a few parameters from the generic winter wheat cultivar used for the Central Great Plains in the USA needed to be changed, and the information needed to determine these few parameters were readily obtainable. The result was that the dates of anthesis and physiological maturity and final grain yield were predicted well at sites within the three major crop production regions of the Czech Republic. Sensitivity analysis also showed that the most sensitive management practices and initial conditions in SHOOTGRO are relatively easy to determine (e.g. sowing date, N fertilizer rate and timing, daily temperature), while it is not overly sensitive to those variables more difficult to determine (e.g. initial soil water in the profile). Based on this study, farmers and scientists needing wheat development information to increase the efficacy of their management practices can use SHOOTGRO 4.0 as a tool.