Intercomparison of timothy models in northern countries

Panu Korhonen


Forage-based livestock and dairy production are the economic backbone of agriculture in many northern countries. In northern Europe and eastern Canada, forage grasses are commonly grown intensively for silage and hay as a part of crop rotation. In those regions, timothy (Phleum pratense L.) is one of the most widely grown grass species. Models that simulate the development of yield and nutritive quality have been developed for timothy, but the performance of different models has not been compared so far.

In this study, we compare the performance of the models BASGRA, CATIMO, and STICS for the  predictions of timothy yield at 7 sites located in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Canada. In addition to yield, model predictions of additional variables, such as leaf area index, specific leaf area, and nutritive quality are gathered on a daily basis. Observed data will be used for two distinct calibrations: 1) Cultivar-specific and 2) ”global”, using all cultivars. The performance of the models will be tested by simulating all sites and years with both the 5 cultivar-specific parameter sets and the global parameter set.

The first results of the comparison will be presented with a particular emphasis on dry matter yield predictions.

The results will provide information about the uncertainties related to yield predictions of different timothy models and calibrations, the strengths and weaknesses of different modelling approaches, and the sensitivity of models to cultivar-specific parameters.

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Authors: Panu Korhonen1, Taru Palosuo1, Mats Höglind2, Tomas Persson2, Guillaume Jégo3, Perttu Virkajärvi1, Gilles Bélanger3, Anne-Maj Gustavsson4

Affiliations: 1Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), 2Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research (BIOFORSK), 3Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) 4 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

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