Determining the variability in optimal sowing date of spring cereals in South Eastern Norway

Tomas Persson


Spring cereals are important agricultural crops in Northern Europe. The short growing season in this region necessitates early sowing. The earliest possible date is often determined by the soil water content, which usually decreases during and after snowmelt at rates varying with the weather and the soil characteristics. Tillage and sowing operations on soils with too high a water content can lead to soil compaction, increased soil erosion, and losses of nutrients and soil organic matter. Rainfall intensity also affects crop emergence, through its potentially negative effects on surface capping. The objective of this study was to determine the earliest possible sowing date of spring cereals for representative soil and climate scenarios in southeastern Norway. Criteria were set for pre-sowing tillage operations and sowing, based on the water content in differ soil layers and the incidence of rainfall. To determine the day of the year when these criteria were first met, the soil water content during the spring was simulated with the soil module in DSSAT v4.5. These simulations were performed for contrasting soil types and climate scenarios representing the period 1961-90 and 2046-65 respectively. For each combination of soil and climate, one hundred simulations with individual weather data were performed. The results provide information about the timing and variability of the optimal planting date for the current and projected climate in South Eastern Norway.


Authors: Tomas Persson, Sigrun Kværnø, Hugh Riley, Mats Höglind, Lillian Øygarden

Affiliation: Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research (BIOFORSK)

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