We compared the complex crop model CERES-​Maize with simple water production functions (WPFs) in their capabilities to accurately predict corn growth under different irrigation schedules in eastern Colorado.

The WPFs were calculated by comparing the grain yield or biomass outcomes, in relation to the season’s total rainfall and irrigation. Results showed that WPFs were as good as CERES-​Maize, with WPFs providing better predictions of yield in some cases. We also identified the need to improve crop model responses to water stress, especially at different growth stages, for cropping systems models to be adequate for estimating the impacts of irrigation management on yield.

Ultimately, the choice between the use of a complex crop model and a simpler WPF depends on the purpose of the user and the required accuracy.

Publication: Sima, N. Q., A. A. Andales, R. D. Harmel, L. Ma, and T. J. Trout (2019). Evaluating RZWQM2-​CERES-​Maize and water production functions for predicting irrigated maize yield and biomass in eastern Colorado. Transactions of the ASABE.

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