Submitted to: CRC Press
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: July 25, 2001
Publication Date: June 1, 2002
Citation: Hatfield, J.L., Kimball, B.A. 2002. Future research to fill knowledge gaps. In: Ahuja, L.R., Ma, L., and Howell, T.A., editors. Agricultural Systems Models in Field Research and Technology Transfer. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press. p. 331-344. Technical Abstract: Simulation models of agricultural systems have been developed over the past 40-50 years. These models have ranged in complexity describing physiological, soil, or atmospheric processes within the soil-plant- atmosphere continuum across a range of spatial and temporal scales. Output generated from a wide variety of models has had an impact on our ability to capture the dynamics of processes and to be able to extend this information into other scales. If we examine the changes that have occurred in agricultural models over the past 10 years, there have been large strides in being able to assess different scales. It is unreasonable to assume that the current models will address all of the needs or expectations from a wide range of users. The scientific community has been developing models that accurately simulate single agricultural systems. There are few models that truly allow for diversity in crop rotations or feedbacks among changes induced by management and the long-term effect on varying cropping or livestock systems. Future research will have to focus on quantifying the interactions among system components. There are endless challenges in this area and increased maturity of our understanding of these interactions will help guide our process. There is much to be done and the world of decision-making and artificial intelligence will provide opportunities for us that we can not imagine today.