crop growth

Crop Simulation Modelling

An article in The Jamaica Gleaner discusses Crop Simulation Modelling (CSM), the subject of researcher Dr. Dale Rankine’s PhD. This technology can help protect the Caribbean in creating food security in the region in response to the threat of climate change.

“To do modelling on agriculture, crop simulation modelling is the leading approach. What modelling does is allows you to experiment with a number of different options to see how your production changes under different conditions,” he told The Gleaner.

“What I can do with CSM, after I have grown a variety in one or two locations for at least two seasons, is to model the parametres that mimic what the growth is in the field to see what I get. It is a very powerful tool and the most economic means of assessing your productivity under a range of different conditions,” Rankine said further.

The implications of CSM are that Jamaica will have an innovative tool to help with Food Security for the island nation. One is software program that is being used is AquaCrop, developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to “address food security and assess the effect of the environment and management on crop production.” DSSAT – the Decision Support System for Agro Technology Transfer, is another software system which simulates models for more than 40 crops including many that are grown in the Caribbean, including sugar cane, cassava, tomato, Irish potato, peanuts, and pineapple.

Dr. Rankin has been trained in DSSAT and is keen to share his knowledge. A workshop attended by agronomists, agricultural extension officers, agro-meteorologists, farmers, and researchers, for both basic and advanced training in DSSAT and AquaCrop was held in Jamaica recently. Along with participants from Jamaica, other came from many neighboring Barbados, Belize, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago to learn more about and train in these technologies. One of the results of the workshop is the establishment by Dr Rankine of the Whatsapp group called The Caribbean Consortium of Crop Modeller which has been set up to offer help to members after they have undergone training. As a member of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) Jamaica, Dr Rankine continues in his CSM research.

The image shown above features the FAO’s AquaCrop. To learn more, visit the website: 

To read the full article in The Jamaica Gleaner, please follow this link: