Crop modelling as a tool to separate the influence of the soil and weather on crop yields

Gabriella Mathe-Gaspar, Nandor Fodor, Klara Pokovai, Geza Janos Kovacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


The yield of traditional food and feed crops in a given habitat is controlled by the soil and weather conditions as the main environmental factors. In real world it is not possible to segregate the influences of the soil and the weather on the crop production. Using simulation models there are ways to analyse the effects of the changes of soil characteristics or weather elements separately. The role of different soil characteristics can be studied in a way that the first run is considered as a control, then one of the soil characteristics is changed within a realistic range while all the other soil factors and weather inputs are left original. This way all the soil characteristic and weather elements can be changed one by one or different combinations of them can be used as input series. A more practical approach is when the role of local soils and weather are compared by a series of runs applying observed weather data from different years and real soil profiles from different fields of the selected farm. The results of the simulation can be evaluated from many different aspects: biomass or yield production, vulnerability to nitrate leaching or denitrification and profitability. In this study real Hungarian soil and weather scenarios were used that are significantly different from one another. The two main crops of Hungary were used: maize and wheat plus field pea as an addition. Pea is known as a sensitive crop to weather. 4M-simulation package was used as a modelling tool. Our group at RISSAC based on CERES and CROPGRO models has developed it. The results showed that the weather differences caused more significant changes in yields then soil differences though soils could moderate the effects of the extreme weather scenarios. The measure of reactions is meaningfully different depending on the species and cultivars. Analysis of separated effects of soil and weather factors has not only theoretical and methodological importance, but useful for the practice, too. When new plant species or cultivars are introduced in a country the optimal habitats can be found. The optimal structure for crops (where to seed different crops, and what sequence should be applied) and technology for crops (sawing time, fertilizer application and timing, etc.) can be estimated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-169
Number of pages5
JournalPhysics and Chemistry of the Earth
Issue number1-3 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Feb 11 2005


  • Crop models
  • Environmental factors
  • Soil
  • Weather

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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