Pilot study: Field crop rotations modeling under present and future conditions in the Czech Republic using HERMES model

Eva Pohanková, Petr Hlavinka, Kurt Christian Kersebaum, Martin Dubrovský, Milan Fischer, Jan Balek, Zdeněk Žalud, Marcela Hlaváčová, Miroslav Trnka


The aim of this study is to compare the water and organic material balance, yields and other aspects estimated within crop rotations by the Hermes crop model for present and future climatic conditions in the Czech Republic. Moreover, this is a pilot study for the complex and continuous crop rotations modeling (using both single crop models and ensembles) in connection with transient climate change scenarios. For this purpose, three locations representing important agricultural regions of the Czech Republic (with different climatic conditions) were selected. The crop rotation (including spring barley, silage maize, winter wheat, winter rape, and winter wheat in the listed order) was simulated from 1981-2080. The period 1981-2010 was covered by measured meteorological data, and the period 2011-2080 was represented by a transient synthetic weather series from the weather generator M&Rfi. The generated data was based on five circulation models representing an ensemble of 18 CMIP3 global circulation models to preserve to a large degree the uncertainty of the original ensemble. Two types of crop management were compared, and the influences of soil quality, increasing atmospheric CO2 and magnitude of adaptation measure (in the form of sowing date changes) were also considered. According to the results, if a “dry” scenario (such as GFCM21) would occur, then all the C3 crops produced in drier regions would be devastated in a significant number of seasons; for example, by the 2070s, up to 19.5%, 21.5% and 47.0% of seasons with winter rape, spring barley and winter wheat, respectively, would have a yield level below 50% of the present yield. Negative impacts are likely even on premium-quality soils regardless of the use of a flexible sowing date and accounting for increasing CO2 concentrations. Moreover, in some cases, the use of catch crops can have negative impacts, exacerbating the soil water deficit for the subsequent crops.


This study (submitted to Climate Research journal) will be used as a pilot for subsequent activities. In this area, following calculations (the same set of stations and updated climate scenarios) using growth models ensemble (currently includes 12 modeling approaches) started to estimate uncertainty aspects. Consequently, the analysis within wider range of conditions (across continents) and farming methods will be conducted.

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