The Art of Crop Modelling

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The Art of Crop Modelling

Predicting crop growth in face of climate effects through modelling tools

To be announced


This course teaches the principles of crop growth modelling for early career researchers. Crop models allow to simulate the growth and development of annual and perennials crops, often in interaction with the environment (i.e. soil, nitrogen, water, air). Many different models are available, a recent inventory lead to a total of 250. This course focuses on the core aspects of these models, in the representation of processes of growth and development through dynamic modelling techniques.  Different approaches for growth and development will be presented. Next to these theoretical aspects, applications of crop growth models will be illustrated with a focus on use of these models in yield forecasting systems. Participants will be challenged in groups and individually through exercises, with a closing session of presentations of the main findings.


The programme of the last edition of this course can be found below. This should provide you with an indication of the general build-up of this course. The precise structure of the next edition of this course, may of course differ somewhat.

Day 1

  • Basic elements of dynamic simulation
  • FST, the Fortran Simulation Translator

Day 2

  • LINTUL-1: potential crop growth
  • LINTUL-2: water-limited crop growth

Day 3

  • Quiz and lecture on crop growth and development (Ch2-3 Hay and Porter) Crop development, its modelling and predicted climate change effects.
  • Introduction to exercises: “Develop a developmental model for non-photo period sensitive spring wheat” and “Develop a model for photoperiod and vernalisation sensitive spring wheat.”
  • Group work to make the models
  • Reporting back from the groups

Day 4

  • Lecture on WOFOST (also focus on differences irt LINTUL)
  • Exercise (individual): installing WOFOST Control Centre and running examples for same Dutch site as done with LINTUL
  • CGMS (regional application of WOFOST, input data, spatial schematization, calibration)
  • Group wise regional calibration of maize in Kenya

Day 5

  • Lecture on applications of CGMS (MARS project: early warning, crop yield forecasting, food security; FP7 projects on model improvements and capacity building)
  • Exploring data sets of these initiatives by using MARS viewers to analyse crop production (simulated with WOFOST) at grid level
  • Presentations of students of their work related to crop growth modelling
  • Prof. dr. ir. Martin van Ittersum: Using crop models to assess Global Food
General information
Target Group PhD students and early career researchers with an interest in developing and/or crop simulation methods in their research. 
Group Size Min. 14, max. 30 participants
Course duration 2 weeks (10 working days), including one week of preparations
Language of instruction English
Frequency of recurrence Every two years
Number of credits 3 ECTS
Lecturers To be determined
Prior knowledge No previous PE&RC postgraduate courses are required. However, basic knowledge of mathematics (in particular basic algebra, vector and matrix algebra, differentiation, integration and differential equations) is required. Participants who need to refresh their mathematics background knowledge can refer to the hand books "Mathematics at work: Volume 1, Vectors and matrices applied (2013)", and "Mathematics at work: Volume 2, Analysis applied (2010)", authored by M. de Gee. Both are available on-line and in the syllabus shop of the Mathematical and Statistical Methods group at Wageningen University.
Location To be determined
More information

Claudius van de Vijver (PE&RC)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485116

Lennart Suselbeek (PE&RC)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485426

Registration of interest

At this moment, this course is not scheduled yet. However, if you register your interest in this activity below, we will inform you as soon as the course is scheduled and registration of participation is opened.