Crop Modelling and Climate Change

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Please note that, at this stage, this event is fully booked. Nevertheless, you are most welcome to register for this event, and accordingly, we will place you in a waiting list. Should any of the registered participants cancel his/her registration (which is quite common), we will notify you and ask you whether you would still like to participate in this event. If we do not contact you again with respect to this event, you may assume that no vacancies have arisen.

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Postgraduate Course

Crop Modelling and Climate Change:
Training the Next Generation of Crop Modelers for Crop Model Development and Improvement

10 - 15 March 2024

Parkhotel 'de Bosrand', Ede, the Netherlands

Organised by  The Graduate School PE&RC & the University of Florida  


In this age of artificial intelligence models, mechanistic crop growth models are more important than ever. Plant and crop growth simulation models are now a basic tool for many researchers. Yet, there is a shortage of model developers, scientists with knowledge about underlying mechanistic processes and skills to transform this knowledge into scientific equations and sound models. Such modelling skills are highly demanded in the labour market. Many of the more commonly used mechanistic crop models have a challenge to cope with climate change factors such as increased CO2, droughts and floods, temperature, variability, extreme events, and especially the interaction among these factors. There is, therefore, an urgent need to train the next generation of scientists on the further development of dynamic crop simulation models. This post-graduate course focusses on just that. Crop models refer to models that deal with crops, contrasting with e.g. virtual plant models that are focussing on interactions between individual plants. Together with international senior scientists in crop modelling, participants will take up the challenge to acquaint themselves with the process of crop modelling and to develop new insights to strengthen current crop models. We start with theory and concepts and state-of-the-art lectures on the key processes of crop growth to be modelled (and how) and we will also address the importance of both model calibration and evaluation and associated data requirements.

Participants will learn about the detailed processes that play a role in crop development and growth and the interaction of crops with soil water and nutrients and will evaluate the impact of processes that are/are not included in the selected models in relation to climate change. Limitations of current dynamic crop growth models and challenges that remain will be addressed. The main focus of this course will on the use and accuracy of sole crop simulation models, although aspects of intercropping will be mentioned. Availability of proper data for model development, calibration and evaluation is key in making progress. This topic will receive attention in the course. Participants will be challenged to analyse how existing models can be adapted, calibrated, and evaluated in a modern dynamic simulation environment.

Course set-up

1. Key-note / Introduction Lecture
The course starts off Sunday afternoon with an introduction to the course, followed by a key-note address in which the invited speaker will give his/her perspective on how models should be adapted to cope with climate change.

2. Poster Carousel
After the Sunday dinner there will be a poster carousel in which participants introduce themselves via a poster. Each round lasts 15 minutes (5 minutes introduction and 10 minutes questions and discussion). Prior to the course, participants must submit a poster in PDF, which will be printed by the course office (A1-size). The poster must contain your name and affiliation, title and short description of your research project with one highlight on crop modelling and the reason why you want to participate in this course. Posters will remain in the lecture room throughout the course.

3. Lectures and Discussion
Each day will start off with a set of lectures of 30-45 minutes. Each lecture is followed by a discussion of 15 minutes in which participants challenge the speaker on the presentation and a paper that the speaker provided prior to the course.


4. Tutorials
Besides lectures there will also be a set of tutorials in which modelling procedures are explained and demonstrated.

5. Group Work
Afternoons are primarily spent on group work. Each group (5 participants) will be working on making models more robust to climate change. Focus is on water and/or temperature. We will be working with WOFOST (3-4 groups) and DSSAT (2-3 groups). Topics include modelling responses to climate variability and climate change where the following will be discussed:

  • Phenology and development
  • Photosynthesis and respiration
  • Biomass partitioning
  • Transpiration and water uptake
  • Soil water dynamics
  • Root growth
  • Nutrient uptake
  • Soil nutrient and organic matter dynamics
  • Minimum data for crop modelling
  • Model calibration and evaluation

Output of the group work will be presented on Friday morning in 15-minute presentations per group followed by 15 minutes discussion.

To participate, candidates must have a solid basis (that can be demonstrated) in:
  1. Systems analysis and modelling;
  2. Experience in using crop models;
  3. Experience in scripting, coding, and programming.

    Participants must have a letter of recommendation from their supervisor / superior that they have the skills to actively participate in the course.
    Please note that you have to bring your own laptop.

Preliminary Course Programme
Sunday 10 March 2024 
15:00 - 16:00 Arrival and settling in
16:00 - 16:30 Opening and course set-up, course logistics and setting up the group-work
16:30 - 17:30 Keynote: How can AI contribute to developing more robust crop models?
Prof Ioannis Athanasiadis (Wageningen University) 
17:30 – 18:30 Welcome drinks
18:30 – 19:30 Dinner
19:30 – 21:00 Poster Carousel: Introduction of participants via a carousel of 6 sessions of 15 minutes each in which 5 posters will be presented per session 
Monday 11 March 2024Potential production 
7:15 – 8:15 Breakfast
8:30– 9:15 Lecture: Crop modelling for different purposes: G x E x M (Martin van Ittersum)
9:15 – 9:30 Discussion
9:30 – 10:15 Lecture: From process knowledge to models (Willingthon Pavan)
10:15 – 10:30 Discussion
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 – 11:30 Lecture: Phenology (Gerrit Hoogenboom) 
11:30 –11:45 Discussion
11:45 – 12:45 Tutorial: Setting up models (Allard de Wit, Paul Ravensbergen, Gerrit Hoogenboom, Willingthon Pavan)
12:30 –13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 14:00 Tutorial: Parameter sets and weather data (Allard de Wit, Paul Ravensbergen, Gerrit Hoogenboom, Willingthon Pavan)
14:00 – 15:00 Group Work: Working with the existing models. Groups get the assignment to familiarise themselves with the model WOFOST or DSSAT) and in the process think about how to conceptually change the model to make to model more robust to climate change (Gerrit Hoogenboom and Tom Schut)
15:00 - 15:15 Coffee/tea
15:15 – 16:00 Group Work continued
16:00 – 17:30 Presentation of conceptual model that groups want to work on during the course
17:30 – 18:30 Free time
18:30 – 19:30 Dinner
19:30 – Free Evening
Tuesday 12 March 2024: Potential and water limited production
7:15 – 8:15 Breakfast
8:30 – 9:15 Lecture: Photosynthesis and partitioning (Silvere Vialet-Chabrand)
9:15 – 9:30 Discussion
9:30 – 10:15 Lecture: Evapo-transpiration & energy balance (Tom Schut)
10:15 – 10:30 Discussion
10:30 – 10:45 Coffee/tea
10:45 – 11:30 Lecture: Soil water dynamics (Marius Heinen)
11:30 – 11:45 Discussion
11:45 – 12:30  Tutorial: Parameter sets and soil data (Allard de Wit, Paul Ravensbergen, Gerrit Hoogenboom, Willingthon Pavan)
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:00 Group Work
15:00 - 15:15 Break
15:15 – 17:00 Group Work continued
17:00 – 18:30 Free time
18:30 – 19:30 Dinner
19:30 -  Free Evening
Wednesday 13 March 2024: Model calibration and evaluation
7:15 – 8:15 Breakfast
8:30 – 9:15 Lecture: Model calibration and Evaluation of model accuracy (Gerrit Hoogenboom)               
9:15 – 9:30 Discussion
9:30 - 10:15 Tutorial: Model sensitivity, extremes and calibration (Tom Schut, Allard de Wit, Gerrit Hoogenboom)
10:15 – 10:30 Discussion
10:30 – 10:45 Coffee/tea
10:45 - 12:30 Group Work
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:00 Group Work continued
15:00 - 15:15 Break
15:15 – 17:00 Group Work continued
17:00 – 18:30 Free time
18:30– 19:30 Dinner
19:30 -  Free evening
Thusday 14 March 2024: Nutrient limitation and biotic stressors 
7:15 – 8:15 Breakfast
8:30 – 9:15 Lecture: Lecture: Modelling nutrient limitations (Tom Schut)
9:15 – 9:30 Discussion
9:30 – 10:15 Lecture: Modelling organic matter dynamics in soil (Gerard Ros)
10:15 – 10:30 Discussion
10:30 – 10:45 Coffee/tea
10:45 – 11:30 Lecture: Biotic Stressors (Lammert Bastiaans)
11:30 – 11:45 Discussion
11:45 – 12:30 Group Work
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:00 Group Work continued
15:00 – 15:15 Coffee/Tea
15:15 – 17:00 Group Work continued
17:00 – 18:30 Free time
18:30 – 19:30  Dinner
19:30 – Free Evening
Friday 15 March 2024 : Presentations Group Work 
7:15 – 8:15 Breakfast
8:15 – 9:00 Check-out
9:00 - 10:00 Presentations Group Work
10:00 - 10:30 Coffee/Tea
10:30 - 12:30 Presentations continued
12:30 – 12:45 Closure
12:45 - 13:45 Lunch and farewell
14:15 - Optional visit to WU Campus and research sites 
Course Organisers
General information
Target Group The workshop is intended for those who want to get insight in making models more robust to cope with consequences of climate change. Please note that you have to bring your own laptop.
Group Size Min. 20 / Max. 30 participants
Course duration 1 week
Language of instruction English
Number of credits 1. 5 ECTS
Prior knowledge - Systems analysis and modelling;
- Experience in using crop models;
- Experience in scripting, coding, and programming;
Participants must have a letter of recommendation from their supervisor that they are able to actively participate in the course
Location Hotel de Bosrand, Ede.
Fees 1
PE&RC  / WIMEK / WASS / EPS / VLAG / WIAS PhD candidates with an approved TSP € 440,- € 490,-
PhD candidates of the University of Florida / PE&RC postdocs and staff € 870,- € 920,-
All other academic participants € 950,- € 1000,-
Non academic participants € 1740,- € 1790,-

1 The course fee includes accommodation and catering (breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee/tea) but excludes beverages
2 The Early-Bird Fee applies to anyone who REGISTERS ON OR BEFORE 21 JANUARY 2024


  • If you need an invoice to complete your payment, please send an email to, including ALL relevant details that should be mentioned on the invoice (e.g., purchase order no., specific addresses, attendees, etc.).
  • The Early-Bird policy is such that the moment of REGISTRATION (and not payment) is leading for determining the fee that applies to you.
  • Please make sure that your payment is arranged within two weeks after your registration.
  • It is the participant's responsibility to make sure that he/she (or his/her secretary) completes the payment correctly and in time.
PE&RC Cancellation Conditions
  • Up to 4 (four) weeks prior to the start of the course, cancellation is free of charge.
  • Up to 2 (two) weeks prior to the start of the course, 50% of the course fee of  will be charged.
  • In case of cancellation within two weeks prior to the start of the course or no show, 100% of the participation fee will be charged.

Note: If you would like to cancel your registration, ALWAYS inform us and do not assume that by NOT paying the participation fee, your registration is automatically cancelled, because it isn't (and do note that you will be kept to the cancellation conditions).

More information

Claudius van de Vijver (PE&RC)


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