Submitted to: International Agricultural Engineering Conference (IAEC)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/30/2004
Publication Date: 10/10/2004
Citation: Reddy, V., Anbumozhi, V. 2004. Developoment and application of crop simulation models for sustainable natural resource management. International Agricultural Engineering Conference (IAEC).October 11-14, 2004, Beijing, P.R. China. p. 10-035A Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Natural resource management decisions are made daily at different levels for the purpose of increased crop production, environmental preservation, and long-term strategic policy formulations. Good decision making requires analytical tools that vary both in scale and scope as they are applied to a wide spectrum of issues ranging from plant protection, soil and water conservation, and climate change. To assess the degree of sustainability of a particular crop production system, there is a need to understand quantitatively the processes determining crop growth and how these are influenced by bio-physical factors and production practices. Field studies and long term experimentation are required to get the needed information. They are often laborious, resource consuming, and generally take longer to generate outputs for use in decision making. Crop models offer a less expensive and faster complimentary approach and can be useful to easily evaluate a number of alternative strategies and risks in agricultural decision making. A model is a representation of a real crop production system, and usually describes the structure or function of that particular system. Simulation means using mathematical equations written in computer code to predict how a crop grows in a natural environment of soil, water, and weather. In this paper we analyze the ways in which the crop simulation models are used as decision support tools in agriculture and natural resources management. An overview of the development of crop simulation models is presented. This follows a detailed discussion on successful application of such models in water management, irrigation planning, soil and water conservation, agro-forestry, and alternate cropping systems. The role of crop simulation models in facilitating such strategic decision making processes as climate change adaptations and agro-environmental policy analysis are also identified.