3D Modelling Workshop: Simulation of crop growth and development

Tuesday 22 September

Concurrent Session 4

1330 – 1455

Please bring your laptop

Workshop Facilitator: Dr Jochem Evers

Dr Jochem Evers is an Assistant Professor in the Centre of Crop Systems Analysis at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He researches relationships between plant form and function, and the interactions between plants and their environment (e.g. competition between neighbouring plants, insects, diseases, and the microclimate). He has worked on developing functional-structural plant modelling approaches for crops since 2001. One of these models simulates wheat growth and development, and will be used in this workshop.

Descriptions and Objectives

Simulation modelling can be a useful addition to the array of tools available to researchers to address questions of crop growth, crop management and the effects of environmental factors. In this workshop, an introduction will be given to a simulation methodology that explicitly simulates growth of individual plants in a crop setting, called Functional-Structural Plant (FSP) modelling. In FSP models, growth and development of individual organs that make up the plant are simulated based on underlying processes such as light capture, photosynthesis, and assimilate partitioning. Typical outputs of such models are leaf area, biomass and yield at the level of the whole plant and the canopy. Due to the explicit three-dimensional (3D) nature of these models, they are well suited to address questions that relate to spatial aspects of crop growth and development, such as organ formation and branching patterns in relation to planting pattern or pruning treatments.

This workshop will give insights into the possibilities of FSP modelling for crop research, and provide an overview of the type of questions that can be addressed. Firstly, an introduction to the concepts behind FSP modelling, without going into the technical details, will be given. Subsequently, we will have a hands-on tutorial using an example model that aims at simulating the effects of virtual treatments such as population density or row spacing on crop performance for a small canopy of plants. This example draws on research recently conducted in Australia, and is concerned with wheat lines contrasting in the tiller inhibition gene, tin. Finally, the workshop will be wrapped up with a discussion of potential new applications and an outlook on the future of this type of modelling.

The simulation platform GroIMP will be used in this workshop. It has been developed at the University of Goettingen (Germany), and is an open-source program which is free to download. Participants need to bring their own laptop to the workshop.

Please download the software  GroIMP for the workshop here.