Complicated processes involved in soil-plant-weather systems are expressed in crop models by functions linked by logical expressions. Some thirty years ago the explosion in the development of computer technology made the modelling of complex cropping systems possible. The development of crop modelling can be characterized by analogy with the phases in the life cycle of living creatures from infancy to maturity. An overview is given in this paper, ranging from simple photosynthetic models through ecological production models to the challenges of reductionalism, universalism and total validation criteria. The development of thinking in modelling finally led to a change of paradigm, i.e. the modellers made distinctions based on aims and methods. Scientific and engineering goals require different models, as do causal and statistical relationships or deterministic and stochastic modelling efforts. Crop modelling is able to strengthen the link between theoretical and practical agronomy and call attention to the weak points in our present knowledge, stimulating further experimentation and the building of new hypotheses. Models help to interpret the experimental results gained under different environmental conditions. They can be used for the development of crop management, the prediction of efficiency of newly introduced production technologies, and risk analysis (Monteith 1996). Model applications can also be used in the field of sustainable agriculture, food security, natural resource management and environmental protection. Management applications may be strategic, tactical or forecasting. A great future can be foreseen for simulation modelling in the field of sciences and education and in the development of decision support systems. The near future of modelling depends on the goodness and availability of the input data, the readiness of modellers to cooperate with one another on modularity and standardization, and last but not least the ability of potential user groups to communicate.
|Translated title of the contribution||Development of crop models: A critical review|
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 1 2003|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science