Diversification of crop rotations is considered an option to increase the resilience of European crop production under climate change. So far, however, many crop simulation studies have focused on predicting single crops in separate one-year simulations. Here, we compared the capability of fifteen crop growth simulation models to predict yields in crop rotations at five sites across Europe under minimal calibration. Crop rotations encompassed 301 seasons of ten crop types common to European agriculture and a diverse set of treatments (irrigation, fertilisation, CO2 concentration, soil types, tillage, residues, intermediate or catch crops). We found that the continuous simulation of multi-year crop rotations yielded results of slightly higher quality compared to the simulation of single years and single crops. Intermediate crops (oilseed radish and grass vegetation) were simulated less accurately than main crops (cereals). The majority of models performed better for the treatments of increased CO2 and nitrogen fertilisation than for irrigation and soil-related treatments. The yield simulation of the multi-model ensemble reduced the error compared to single-model simulations. The low degree of superiority of continuous simulations over single year simulation was caused by (a) insufficiently parameterised crops, which affect the performance of the following crop, and (b) the lack of growth-limiting water and/or nitrogen in the crop rotations under investigation. In order to achieve a sound representation of crop rotations, further research is required to synthesise existing knowledge of the physiology of intermediate crops and of carry-over effects from the preceding to the following crop, and to implement/improve the modelling of processes that condition these effects.
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|Titolo:||Crop rotation modelling—A European model intercomparison|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|