About this Research Topic
Crop models are valuable tools in precision agriculture that can present quantitative knowledge about how crop growth interacts with its soil and environment. These process-based crop models integrate mathematical descriptions of the mechanisms leading to the growth and yield of crops, in response to environmental and management conditions. Using soil and weather data these models can simulate crop growth, development, yield, water, and nutrient uptake. Therefore, understanding the soil-plant-atmosphere is essential to have an accurate calibration of models. Crop models are mathematical algorithms that capture the quantitative information of soil, agronomy, and physiology experiments in a way that can explain and predict crop growth and development with great accuracy. Crop models can assist in crop agronomy, pest management, breeding, and natural resource management, and assess the impact of climate change. These modeling systems keep evolving, integrating crop rotations, tillage, soil carbon, and other nutrients cycling.
Crop phenology is mostly models based on thermal time, photoperiod and vernalization. However, to model solar radiation interception, it is essential to analyze canopy development (such as leaf area and architecture) as it determines crop growth and water use. In most models leaf development is the function of temperature and carbohydrates availability but leaf expansion is mainly controlled by water and nutrient stress. Biomass production is mainly simulated as a function of daily crop intercepted solar radiation multiplied by a conversion factor to biomass (e = radiation-use efficiency, g MJ−1). Crop water use is one of the important aspects of models that depend upon a combination of factors. Models use different approaches to determine atmospheric evaporative demand, otherwise called crop potential evapotranspiration (CPET). Penman-Monteith evapotranspiration (P-M ET) equation is one of the best approaches to calculate CPET. However, limitations in P-M ET to real canopies have been addressed through lysimetric data. Nutrient uptake (e.g. N uptake) in most of the crop models are modeled in two steps: (i) crop N demand and (ii) soil/root N supply. Similarly, grain yield is modeled using yield components that are mainly affected by environmental factors. However, the root-soil complex is one of the most understudied components and it needs attention.
Technological interventions such as the use of GIS and Remote Sensing (RS) in agricultural systems offer a great opportunity to provide real-time data on system performance and functioning. The generation of big data and its role requires deeper exploration and investigation into how it can be further utilized by advanced modeling tools to generate informative results. Ultimately, this all will inform efforts and guide strategies for improving sustainable agriculture from a global, national and local perspective.
The aim of this Research Topic is to present original research articles and review work on all aspects of modeling crop, soil, and environment interactions for sustainable agriculture. Specific topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Modeling soil processes under changing climate
• Modeling nutrient uptake for sustainable agriculture
• Modeling water dynamics for higher water use efficiency
• Modeling evapotranspiration for water management
• Modeling crop water use for optimum management
• Modeling crop phenology to have future ideotype
• Modeling radiation use efficiency for higher dry matter accumulation
• Modeling cropping systems for sustainable climate-friendly system
• Role of decision-support systems in agrotechnology transfer
Keywords: crop modeling, sustainable agriculture, precision agriculture, decision support systems, sustainability indicators
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.