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Descriptions of session aims and scope

Session I – Improvement of crop models and modelling approaches

Session Scientific Committee:

Senthold Asseng (UF, Chair), Michael Dingkuhn (IRRI), Claudio Stöckle (WSU), Yan Zhu (NJAU)

Scope of the Session:

Crop models are increasingly applied for scientific discovery, farmer decision support and policy advice. However, are crop models ready for these applications? What model improvements have occurred recently? What other crop model improvements are needed? The session focus is on recent research on improving crop models. The aims are to (1) Discuss current state of crop models, recent improvements and their implication for crop model applications (including: Abiotic stresses; Water uptake, water use efficiency; Energy balance; CO2 and temperature effects on growth processes and interactions; Nutrient uptake) and (2) to Priorities needs for future crop model improvements.

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Session II – Linking Crop Models and Genetics

Session Scientific Committee:

Graeme Hammer (UQ, Chair), Pierre Martre (INRA), Matthew Reynolds (CIMMYT), Francois Tardieu (INRA), Melanie Correll (UF)

Scope of the Session:

This session focuses on recent research on development and application of crop models for advancing linkages to genetic architecture of adaptive traits as a means to enhance the rate of genetic gain in plant breeding, and the prediction of phenotypic performance. There are two broad avenues by which crop modelling can link to the revolution in genetics/genomics and enhance breeding efficiency. The first involves use of ecophysiological insight from dynamic models to enhance phenotyping strategies by dissecting complex traits to more robust targets that enhance linkages to underpinning genetics and add value to genomic prediction technologies. This has potential to enhance associations derived from advanced statistical methods by helping to unravel G*E interactions. The second involves using crop growth and development models for trait evaluation and phenotypic prediction in target production regions to help prioritise effort and assess breeding strategies. This includes aspects such as use of models to characterise production environments to guide testing and selection strategies. This session will present studies operating in these areas as well as those concerned with the nature of the crop model required for effective linkage to genetics.

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Session III – Crop modelling for risk/impact assessment

Session Scientific Committee:

Claas Nendel (ZALF, Chair), Andy Challinor (ULeeds), Delphine Deryng (UEA), Cesar Izaurralde (UMD)

Scope of the Session:

This session focuses on innovative approaches for the application of crop models in risk or impact assessment at different scales. This includes: (1) the development of methods to measure and interpret uncertainty in a risk framework, such as model intercomparisons and probabilistic or fuzzy modelling approaches which account for uncertain input information; (2) new ideas on combining economic models with crop and grassland/livestock models to translate changing framework conditions into easily understood consequences; (3) approaches based on agent-based or behavioural/game theory models which focus on the role of human decisions in dynamic systems; (4) innovative decision support software and visualisation techniques that ensure concepts of risks, impacts and uncertainties are appropriately presented for discussion with stakeholders. Finally, this session particularly welcomes innovative impact assessment studies that address disaggregation (across scales from field/farm to regional and global) and dimensionality (across disciplines of agro-economics and biophysical modelling) challenges to support adaptation and mitigation decision-making.

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Session IV – Expanding and supporting modelling activities

Session Scientific Committee:

Jørgen Olesen (UA, Chair), Katrien Descheemaeker (WUR), Marcello Donatelli (CRA), Mario Herrero (CSIRO), Phillip Thornton (CCAFS)

Scope of the Session:

This session focuses on improving the use and usefulness of crop models across a wider range of issues. It also deals with accessibility to and use of experimental and monitoring data for model development and parameterization that would allow such wider uses of models to be applied. This includes: (1) the modelling of a wide range of plant species and vegetation types, including annuals and perennials, with generic approaches (e.g. functional structural plant modelling) that allow complex agricultural systems such as intercrops and agroforestry to be studied or effects of climate change on agricultural systems at larger scales to be explored, (2) The linking of crop models with models of weeds, pests and diseases, in particular to explore how crop management and climate may interact to condition yield with little or restricted use of pesticides, (3) Including additional aspects in the modelling of crop responses, e.g., effects of additional stressors (ozone or UVB), effects on crop quality for various end uses (nutritional, digestibility, size, shape), (4) Improved linking of simulations of soil carbon and nutrient cycling in the plant-soil continuum, (5) Linkage of crop models with livestock models to look at key crop-livestock interactions in mixed systems. Finally, the session welcomes presentations on the collection of new datasets from dedicated experiments or monitoring networks and how such datasets can be efficiently applied to improve and support crop modelling.

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