Introducing system models into Ag Research


MADISON, WI. -- In order to develop sustainable agricultural systems that address environmental challenges, more quantitative guidance and site-specific decision tools must become available to producers. Field research requires a quantitative approach to ensure complex interacting factors are taken into account. Process level models of cropping systems are based on synthesis and quantification of important interactions in the system. Integrating these models with cutting-edge field research will enhance the value and efficiency of research for developing sustainable agriculture.

Methods of Introducing System Models into Agricultural Research is the ultimate handbook for field scientists and other users to learn about the proper methods of model use. The 450-page book includes an array of valuable information that can help enhance field research by synthesizing and examining experimental data.

Many field scientists and students struggle with the challenges of parameter estimation and correct model calibration. Models are often misused due to a lack of good documentation and guidance on parameterization and calibration, and results are published without accuracy.

While there are science documentations available for some models, interpreting the science in terms of measurable model parameters in an agricultural system is a unique challenge that requires further resources. Methods of Introducing System Models into Agricultural Research addresses that challenge by providing readers with information from experts on the topics of parameter estimation, calibration, validation, and extension of experimental results to account for weather conditions, soil types and climates. The book editors are L.R. Ahuja and Liwang Ma, USDA-ARS, Agricultural Systems Research Unit, Fort Collins, Colorado

'Because system modeling is vitally important to the understanding of agricultural systems, the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America support the objectives of this book, which will help model users apply the proper techniques when using system models,' said 2011 CSSA President Maria Gallo.

Use of the proper methods is key to realizing the great potential benefits of modeling an agriculture system. For field scientists and other model users looking for an expert resource that breaks down model types, parameter estimation techniques and calibration methods, Methods of Introducing System Models into Agricultural Research may be a valuable resource.

Methods of Introducing System Models into Agricultural Research is 450 pages, hardcover, comes with modeling software and can be purchased at, or by calling 608-268-4960. The price is $96 for Society members and $120 for non-members.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA), is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

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