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Modelling Crops and Cropping Systems

  Summary of research line

Projects related to this research topic are focused on development and application of simulation models. The research group has developed its own models for studying crops (ALAMEDA®, CSM-IXIM, CSM-SWCER, CROPGRO-Faba bean) and for cropping systems (NCS®; DEHESA®) that are currently available, as well as some model improvements for some widely used models. Also, DSSAT, CropSyst, STICS, AquaCrop and other model packages are applied for studying specific agricultural systems. 

Most relevant projects


Funded by: Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid (S2013/ABI-2717). Programa Grupos de Excelencia.
Institution involved: UPM, INIA, CIEMAT e IMIDRA
From October- 2014 to September-2018 
Head of the project: Antonio Vallejo
Head of the project Group AgSystems: M Quemada

Multiscale climate variability. Agricultural and economic impacts. II. Integrated Assessment of Climatic Hazards and Economic Risks: Adapting Agricultural Systems in Spain. 
Project funded by: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad. Plan Nacional de I + D + I
Duration: 2013-2015.
Principal Investigator: María Inés Mínguez.

Funded by: CAM (S2009/AGR-1630). Programa Grupos de Excelencia.
Institution involved: UPM, INIA y CIEMAT
From January-2010 to March-2014 
Head of the project: Antonio Vallejo
Head of the project Group AgSystems: M Quemada

Nuevos productos y técnicas de fertilización para la mejora de la productividad del suelo y su conservación. Simulación de la producción de maíz y trigo: Calibración de modelos y análisis de estrategias de fertilización en el corto plazo.
Project funded by: Fertiberia.
Duration: February 2010-January 2011.
Principal Investigator: Jon I. Lizaso

Verificación de los modelos de simulación de maíz CERES e IXIM en condiciones agroambientales de la Comunidad de Madrid con especial énfasis en la simulación del nitrógeno en la planta.
Project funded by: Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid-UPM.
Duration: January-December 2011.
Principal Investigator: Jon I. Lizaso

Modelling olive trees in a hedgerow orchard: developing a tool for designing and managing hedgerow plantation (M0800204112).
Project funded by: UPM y Comunidad de Madrid (CCG07-UPM/AGR-2113
Duration: 2008-2010
Principal Investigator UPM group: María Gómez del Campo       

Theoretical agroforestry model for simulating dehesa systems (agl2005-03665/agr).
Project funded by: CICYT nº AGl2005-03665/agr 
Duration: January-2006 to January-2009
Principal Investigator: Carlos G. Hernandez Díaz-Ambrona     

Agronomy and modelling of Faba bean (Vicia faba) in Galicia.
Project funded by: Xunta de Galicia (PGIDT05RAG29104PR)
Duration: October-2005 to September-2008
Principal Investigator: Federico Sau Sau      

Modelling and management of olive trees in hedgerow orchards.
Project funded by: UPM-CAM (R05/11243)
Duration: 2006.
Principal Investigator: Dra. M.Inés Mínguez Tudela.      

Calibration and evaluation of simulation models apply to the crop rotation 'maize-raygrass', under different of N fertilizer and water in Galicia: optimizing the production system.
Project funded by: Xunta de Galicia (PGIDT01AGR29101PR)
Duration: December-2001 to November-2004
Principal Investigator: Federico Sau Sau      

Developing of decision support tools for nitrogen fertilizer use in cereals, accounting for productivity criteria and avoiding water pollution.
Project funded by: FEDER and CICYT (2FD97-2425-C06-02)
Duration: January-2000 to December-2001
Principal Investigator: M. Quemada       

Optimizing irrigation water in potato production systems in Galicia.
Project funded by: DGESIC-FEDER (1FD97-0803)
Duration: January-1999 to December-2001
Principal Investigator: Federico Sau Sau      

Structural-functional model for faba-bean crop.
Project funded by: DGICYT nº PB 98-0569
Duration: from 1998 to 2001.
Principal Investigator: Mª Inés Mínguez Tudela. 

Modelling growth and yield response of leguminous crops under water stress.
Project funded by: Programa Hispano-Norteamericano de Cooperación Científica y Técnica
Duration: January-1999 to December-2000
Principal Investigator: Federico Sau Sau 

Ecophysiological study of forage pea and white lupinus under soil and climatic conditions of inland Galicia: validating crop growth simulation models and teledetection techniques.
Project funded by: Xunta de Galicia (XUGA29107A96)
Duration: January-1996 to December-1998
Principal Investigator: Federico Sau Sau 

Alternative crops: ecophysiological study of soya and forage pea to adapt crop growth simulation models to soil and climatic conditions. 
Project funded by: Xunta de Galicia (XUGA29102B93)
Duration: January-1993 to December-1994
Principal Investigator: Federico Sau Sau 

Calibration and validation of the crop-soil model STICS-vigne for his application in nitrate leaching studies in the nitrate vulnerable zone of Aldeanueva (La Rioja).
Project funded by: Gobierno de La Rioja (ECCYSA)
Duration: January-2007 to December-2008
Principal Investigator: M. Quemada       
Studying nitrate leaching and control strategies in vulnerable zones (NVZ) by linking a soil-crop model and a Geographic information systems (GIS).
Project funded by: Gobierno de La Rioja (ECCYSA)
Duration: June-2005 to December-2006
Principal Investigator: M. Quemada 
Comparing agroenvironmental conditions for cropping maize between Italy and Spain. 
National work. Reference: DuPont Ibérica S.L. con domicilio social en Avda. Diagonal 561 en Barcelona (CIF B-08704017 ).
Principal Investigator: Carlos G. Hernandez Díaz-Ambrona 

Most relevant publications

Articles in JCR journals


Castañeda-Vera, A., Leffelaar, P.A., Álvaro-Fuentes, J., Cantero-Martínez, C., Mínguez, MI. 2015. Selecting crop models for decision making in wheat insurance. European Journal of Agronomy, 68: 97–116.

Kumudini, S., F.H. Andrade, K.J. Boote, G.A. Brown, K.A. Dzotsi, G.O. Edmeades, T. Gocken, M. Goodwin, A.L. Halter, G.L. Hammer, J.L. Hatfield, J.W. Jones, A.R. Kemanian, S.-H. Kim, J. Kiniry, J.I. Lizaso, C. Nendel, R.L. Nielsen, B. Parent, C.O. Stӧckle, F. Tardieu, P.R. Thomison, D.J. Timlin, T.J. Vyn, D. Wallach, H.S. Yang, and M. Tollenaar. 2014. Predicting maize phenology: Intercomparison of functions for developmental response to temperature. Agronomy Journal 106(6):2087-2097.

Bassu S., N. Brisson, J.L. Durand, K. Boote, J.I. Lizaso, J.W. Jones, C. Rosenzweig, A.C. Ruane, M. Adam, C. Baron, B. Basso, C. Biernath, H. Boogaard, S. Conijn, M. Corbeels, D. Deryng, G. De Sanctis, S. Gayler, P. Grassini, J. Hatfield, S. Hoek, C. Izaurralde, R. Jongschaap, A.R. Kemanian, K.C. Kersebaum, N.S. Kumar, D. Makowski, C. Müller, C. Nendel, E. Priesack, M.V. Pravia, S.H. Kim, F. Sau, I. Shcherbak, F. Tao, E. Teixeira, D. Timlin, K. Waha. 2014. How do various maize crop models vary in their responses to climate change factors? Global Change Biology 20(7):2301-2320.

Castañeda-Vera, A., Barrios, L., Garrido, A., Mínguez, M.I. 2014. Assessment of insurance coverage and claims in rainfall related risks in processing tomato in W Spain. European Journal of Agronomy, 59: 39–48.

Soldevilla-Martinez, M., M. Quemada, R. López-Urrea, R. Muñoz-Carpena, J.I. Lizaso. 2014. Soil water balance: comparing two simulation models of different levels of complexity with lysimeter observations. Agricultural Water Management 139:53-63.

Munz, S., S. Graeff-Honninger, J.I. Lizaso, Q. Chen, and W. Claupein. 2014. Modeling light availability for a subordinate crop within a strip–intercropping system. Field Crops Research 155:77-89.

Soldevilla-Martinez, M., D. Martin-Lammerding, J.L. Tenorio, I. Walter, M. Quemada, and J.I. Lizaso. 2013. Simulating improved combinations tillage-rotation under dryland conditions. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research 11(3):820-832.

Boote, K.J., J.W. Jones, J.W. White, S. Asseng, and J.I. Lizaso. 2013. Putting mechanisms into crop production models. Plant Cell and Environment 36(9):1658-1672.
Confalone, A., K.J. Boote, J.I. Lizaso, and F. Sau. 2011. Temperature and photoperiod effects on Vicia faba phenology simulated by CROPGRO-Fababean. Agronomy Journal 103:1036-1050.

Lizaso, J.I., K.J. Boote, J.W. Jones, C.H. Porter, L. Echarte, M.E. Westgate, G. Sonohat. 2011. CSM-IXIM: A New Maize Simulation Model for DSSAT version 4.5. Agronomy Journal 103:766-779.

Astini, J.P., A. Fonseca, C. Clark, J.I. Lizaso, L. Grass, M. Westgate, and R. Arritt. 2009. Predicting Out-Crossing in Maize Hybrid Seed Production. Agronomy Journal 101(2):373-380.

López-Cedrón, F.X, Boote, K.J., Piñeiro, J. and Sau F. 2008. Testing the Ceres-maize model for predicting maize production under rainfed conditions in a cool environment. Agronomy Journal. 100: 296-307.

Lizaso, J.I., A.E. Fonseca and M.E. Westgate. 2007. Source-limited and sink-limited kernel set: Two complementary approaches to simulate kernel number with CERES-Maize. Crop Science 47(5):2078-2088.

Lizaso, J.I., K.J. Boote, C.M. Cherr, J.J. Casanova, J. Judge, J.M. Scholberg, J.W. Jones, G. Hoogenboom. 2007. Developing a sweet corn simulation model to predict fresh market yield and quality of ears. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 132(3):415-422.

Ruiz-Ramos, M. and Minguez, M.I. 2006. ALAMEDA, A structural-functional model for faba-bean crops: morphological parametrisation and verification. Annals of Botany:97:377-388.

Lizaso, J.I., W.D. Batchelor, K.J. Boote, and M.E. Westgate. 2005. Development of a leaf level canopy assimilation model in CERES-Maize. Agronomy Journal 97:722-733.

Lizaso, J.I., W.D. Batchelor, K.J. Boote, M.E. Westgate, P. Rochette and A. Moreno-Sotomayor. 2005. Evaluating a leaf level canopy assimilation model in CERES-Maize. Agronomy Journal 97:734-740.

Díaz-Ambrona C.G.H., G.J. O’Leary, V.O. Sadras, M.G. O’Connell, D.J. Connor. 2005. Environmental risk analysis of farming systems in a semi-arid environment: effect of rotations and management practices on deep drainage. Field Crops Research 94:257–271.

López-Cedrón, F.X, Boote, K.J., Ruíz Nogueira, B. y Sau F. 2005. Testing Ceres-maize versions to estimate maize production in a cool environment. European Journal of Agronomy 23: 89-102.

Sau, F., Boote, K.J., W.McN., Bostick, J.J., Jones and Mínguez, M.I. 2004. Testing and improving soil water balance of DSSAT3.5 models. Agronomy Journal 96:1243-1257.

Quemada M. and Cabrera M.L. 2004. Predicting crop residue decomposition using moisture adjusted time scales. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 70:283-291.

Fonseca, A.E., J.I. Lizaso, M.E. Westgate, L. Grass, and D.L. Dornbos, Jr., 2004. Simulating Potential Kernel Production in Maize Hybrid Seed Fields. Crop Science 44:1696-1709.

Lizaso, J.I., M.E. Westgate, W.D. Batchelor and A. Fonseca. 2003. Predicting potential kernel set in maize from simple flowering characteristics. Crop Science 43(3):892-903.

Westgate, M.E., J.I. Lizaso and W.D. Batchelor. 2003. Quantitative relationships between pollen shed density and grain yield in maize (Zea mays L.). Crop Science 43(3):934-942.

Lizaso, J.I., W.D. Batchelor, M.E. Westgate and L. Echarte. 2003. Enhancing the ability of CERES-Maize to compute light capture. Agricultural Systems 76(1):293-311.

Lizaso, J.I., W.D. Batchelor and M.E. Westgate. 2003. A leaf area model to simulate cultivar-specific expansion and senescence of maize leaves. Field Crops Research 80(1):1-17.

Boote, J., Mínguez, M.I. and Sau, F. 2002. Adapting the CROPGRO-legume model to simulate growth of faba bean. Agronomy Journal: 94:743-756.

Lizaso, J.I., W.D. Batchelor, and M.E. Westgate. 2002. Using the normalized difference vegetation index and a crop simulation model to predict soil spatial variability. Transactions of the ASAE 45(4): 1217-1222.

Lizaso, J.I., W.D. Batchelor and S.S. Adams. 2001. Alternate approach to improve kernel number calculation in CERES-Maize. Transactions of the ASAE 44(4):1011-1018.

Ruíz Nogueira, B., Boote, K.J. and Sau, F. 2001. Calibration and use of CROPGRO-soybean model for improving soybean management under rainfed conditions Agricultural Systems:68:161-173.

Sau, F. and Mínguez, M.I. 2000. Adaptation of indeterminate faba beans to weather and management under a Mediterranean climate. Field Crops Research:66:81-99.

Sau, F., Boote, K.J. and Ruíz Nogueira, B. 1999. Evaluation and improvement of CROPGRO-soybean model for a cool environment in Galicia, northwest Spain. Field Crops Research:61:273-291.

Díaz-Ambrona, C. H.; Tarquis, A.; Mínguez, I. 1998. Faba bean canopy modelling with a parametric open L-system: a comparison with the Monsi and Saeki model. Field Crops Research 58:1-13. 

Quemada M., Cabrera M.L. and McCracken D.V. 1997. Nitrogen released from surface-applied cover crop residues: evaluating CERES-N. Agronomy Journal 89:723-729.

Quemada M. and Cabrera M.L. 1995. CERES-N model predictions of nitrogen mineralised from cover crop residues. Soil Science Society of American Journal 59:1059-1065

Other publications

Boote, K.J., J.W. Jones, M. Tollenaar, K.A. Dzotsi, P.V. Vara Prasad, and J.I. Lizaso. 2016. Testing approaches and components in physiologically based crop models for sensitivity to climatic factors. In: J.L. Hatfield and D. Fleisher (Eds). Improving Modeling Tools to Assess Climate Change Effects on Crop Response. ASA, CSSA, SSSA. Madison, WI. USA.

Adiku, S., D. McCarthy, I. Hathie, M. Diancoumba, B.S. Freduah, J. Amikuzuno, P.C. Sibiry Traore, S.B. Traore, E. Koomson, A. Agali, J.I. Lizaso, D. Fatondji, M. Adams, L. Tigana, D.Z. Diarra, O. N’diaye, R.O. Valdivia. 2015. Climate Change Impacts on West African Agriculture: An Integrated Regional Assessment (CIWARA). In: Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems. The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) Integrated Crop and Economic Assessments. C. Rosenzweig, and D. Hillel, Eds., ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 3, Chapter 2. Imperial College Press, 25-73.

Makowski, D., S. Asseng, F. Ewert, S. Bassu, J.L. Durand, P. Martre, M. Adam, P.K. Aggarwal, C. Angulo, C. Baron, B. Basso, P. Bertuzzi, C. Biernath, H. Boogaard, K.J. Boote, N. Brisson, D. Cammarano, A.J. Challinor, J.G. Conijn, M. Corbeels, D. Deryng, G. De Sanctis, J. Doltra, S. Gayler, R. Goldberg, P. Grassini, J.L. Hatfield, L. Heng, S.B. Hoek, J. Hooker, L.A. Hunt, J. Ingwersen, C. Izaurralde, R.E.E. Jongschaap, J.W. Jones, R.A. Kemanian, K.C. Kersebaum, S.H. Kim, J. Lizaso, C. Müller, S. Naresh Kumar, C. Nendel, G.J. O'Leary, J.E. Olesen, T.M. Osborne, T. Palosuo, M.V. Pravia, E. Priesack, D. Ripoche, C. Rosenzweig, A.C. Ruane, F. Sau, M.A. Semenov, I. Shcherbak, P. Steduto, C.O. Stöckle, P. Stratonovitch, T. Streck, I. Supit, F. Tao, E. Teixeira, P. Thorburn, D. Timlin, M. Travasso, R.P. Roetter, K. Waha, D. Wallach, J.W. White, J.R. Williams, and J. Wolf. 2015. Statistical analysis of large simulated yield datasets for studying climate effects. In: Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP). C. Rosenzweig, and D. Hillel, Eds., ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 3. Imperial College Press, 279-298, doi:10.1142/9781783265640_0011.

Boote, K.J., Sau, F., Hoogenboom, G. and Jones, J.W. 2008. Experience with water balance, evapotranspiration, and prediction of water stress effects in CROPGRO models. In: Response of Crops to Limited Water: Understanding and Modelling Water Stress Effects on Plant Growth Processes, Vol. 1 of the Advances in Agricultural Systems Modelling: Transdisciplinary Research, Synthesis, and Applications Series. L.R. Ahuja, V.R. Reddy, S.A. Saseendran, y Qiang Yu, (Eds). ASA, CSSA, and SSSA. pp. 59-103. ISBN: 978-0-89118-167-5.

Ruiz-Ramos, M and Mínguez, M.I., 2006. Functional-structural modelling of faba bean. In: Functional structural plant modelling in crop production (preliminary version), Wageningen UR  Frontis Series,Volume 22, Springer Science+Business Media. Available on line:

Quemada M. 2004. Predicting soil mineral nitrogen in spring based on soil mineral nitrogen in autumn. In: Controlling nitrogen flows and losses. Wageningen Academic Publisher., Países bajos. pp. 219-221.

Quemada M., Guibert M. and López J.J. 1999. Aplicación del modelo CERES para la simulación de los perfiles de humedad y de nitratos en el suelo bajo cultivo de trigo. En: Estudios de la zona no saturada del suelo. Ed: Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias. La Laguna (Tenerife). pp: 147-150. 

Simulation Models Development (Registered and Free Acces) 

Author: Jon I. Lizaso
Sweet corn simulation model developed for DSSAT (Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer) versions 4.5-4.6
Available at:

Author: Jon I. Lizaso
New maize simulation model developed for DSSAT versions 4.5-4.6
Available at:

Herramienta didáctica para el manejo del agua y de la materia orgánica en sistemas de cultivo.
Authors: Miguel Quemada Saenz-Badillo, Jose Luis Gabriel Pérez y Félix Gómez Sánchez.
Software to manage water and N in cropping systems
Available at: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Register number: M- 002114/2009

DEHESA Version 1.0
Authors: Carlos G. Hernandez Diaz-Ambrona; Juan Bautista Almoguera Millán y Jaime Martinez Valderrama
Simulation model of agro-forestry dehesa system.
Available at: OTRI, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Register number: M-009303/2007    
Author: Miguel Quemada Saenz-Badillos Year: 2005
Simulation model of N dynamics in cropping systems.
Available at: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Register number: M-006739/2005      
Authors: M.Ruiz-Ramos y M. Inés Mínguez Año: 2004
Type: Mathematical simulation model.
Available at: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Register number: M-002925/2004      
CROPGRO-Faba bean  
Authors: Boote, K.J., Mínguez, M.I. and Sau 
Faba bean simulation model developed for DSSAT v3.5
Available at:
MOCA Version 1.0
Authors: Carlos G. Hernandez Diaz-Ambrona; César González de Miguel and Jaime Martinez Valderrama
Simulation model of coffee under agro-forestry