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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Management and spatial resolution effects on yield and water balance at regional scale in crop models

Constantin, Julie; Raynal, Helene; Casellas, Eric; Hoffman, Holger; Bindi, Marco; Doro, Luca; Eckersten, Henrik; Gaiser, Thomas; Grosz, Balasz; Haas, Edwin; Kersebaum, Kurt-Christian; Klatt, Steffen; Kuhnert, Matthias; Lewan, Elisabet; Maharjan, Ganga Ram; Moriondo, Marco; Nendel, Claas; Roggero, Pier Paolo; Specka, Xenia; Trombi, Giacomo;
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Due to the more frequent use of crop models at regional and national scale, the effects of spatial data input resolution have gained increased attention. However, little is known about the influence of variability in crop management on model outputs. A constant and uniform crop management is often considered over the simulated area and period. This study determines the influence of crop management adapted to climatic conditions and input data resolution on regional-scale outputs of crop models. For this purpose, winter wheat and maize were simulated over 30 years with spatially and temporally uniform management or adaptive management for North Rhine-Westphalia ((similar to)34 083 km(2)), Germany. Adaptive management to local climatic conditions was used for 1) sowing date, 2) N fertilization dates, 3) N amounts, and 4) crop cycle length. Therefore, the models were applied with four different management sets for each crop. Input data for climate, soil and management were selected at five resolutions, from 1 x 1 km to 100 x 100 km grid size. Overall, 11 crop models were used to predict regional mean crop yield, actual evapotranspiration, and drainage. Adaptive management had little effect (< 10% difference) on the 30-year mean of the three output variables for most models and did not depend on soil, climate, and management resolution. Nevertheless, the effect was substantial for certain models, up to 31% on yield, 27% on evapotranspiration, and 12% on drainage compared to the uniform management reference. In general, effects were stronger on yield than on evapotranspiration and drainage, which had little sensitivity to changes in management. Scaling effects were generally lower than management effects on yield and evapotranspiration as opposed to drainage. Despite this trend, sensitivity to management and scaling varied greatly among the models. At the annual scale, effects were stronger in certain years, particularly the management effect on yield. These results imply that depending on the model, the representation of management should be carefully chosen, particularly when simulating yields and for predictions on annual scale.


Drainage; Evapotranspiration; Aggregation; Decision rules; Scaling

Published in

Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
2019, Volume: 275, pages: 184-195 Publisher: ELSEVIER