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See detailToward a tool aimed to quantify soil compaction risks at a regional scale: application to Wallonia (Belgium)
D'Or, Dimitri; Destain, Marie-France ULg

in Soil & Tillage Research (2014), 144

The spatial analysis of the soil compaction risk has been developed at the regional level and applied to Wallonia (Belgium). The methodology is based on the estimation of the probability of exceeding the ... [more ▼]

The spatial analysis of the soil compaction risk has been developed at the regional level and applied to Wallonia (Belgium). The methodology is based on the estimation of the probability of exceeding the preconsolidation stress due to the application of loads on the soil. Preconsolidation stresses (Pc) are computed from the pedotransfer functions of Horn and Fleige (2003) at pF 1.8 and 2.5 and classified into 6 categories ranging from very low Pc (< 30 kPa) to extremely high Pc (> 150 kPa). The computation requires the knowledge of pedological (texture, organic content), mechanical (bulk density, cohesion, internal friction angle), and hydraulic variables (water content available, non-available water content, air capacity, saturated hydraulic conductivity). These variables are obtained from databases like HYPRES or AARDEWERK or from pedotransfer functions. The computation of Pc takes into account the spatial structure of the data: in some cases, data are abundant (e.g. texture data) and spatial variability is taken into account through geostatistical methods. In other cases, the data is sparse but uncertainty information can be extracted from the knowledge of the statistical distribution. Maps of the most probable Pc class are produced. Uncertainty is computed as the classification error probability. Implementation of these methods in Wallonia showed that Pc values higher than 120 kPa are reached either on 64 % of the territory at pF 2.5 or on 55 % at pF 1.8. A higher uncertainty was found at pF 2.5 than at pF 1.8. Uncertainty was also found higher for clay and clayed loess than for other textural classes present in Wallonia. The risk of compaction is defined as the probability that Pc is exceeded by the stress created by a load applied to the soil at a depth of 40 cm, the loads being similar to those induced by agricultural or forestry tires. It appeared that subsoil compaction risks exist mainly in loamy forest soils with small coarse fragments supporting loads similar to that existing on logging machines. In the zones where the uncertainty is low, the developed tool could be used as a basis for providing policy measures in order to promote soil-friendly farming and forest practices. [less ▲]

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See detailToward a tool aimed to quantify soil compaction risks at a regional scale: application to Wallonia (Belgium)
D'Or, Dimitri; Destain, Marie-France ULg

in Soil & Tillage Research (2014), 144

The spatial analysis of the soil compaction risk has been developed at the regional level and applied to Wallonia (Belgium). The methodology is based on the estimation of the probability of exceeding the ... [more ▼]

The spatial analysis of the soil compaction risk has been developed at the regional level and applied to Wallonia (Belgium). The methodology is based on the estimation of the probability of exceeding the preconsolidation stress due to the application of loads on the soil. Preconsolidation stresses (Pc) are computed from the pedotransfer functions of Horn and Fleige (2003) at pF 1.8 and 2.5 and classified into 6 categories ranging from very low Pc (< 30 kPa) to extremely high Pc (> 150 kPa). The computation requires the knowledge of pedological (texture, organic content), mechanical (bulk density, cohesion, internal friction angle), and hydraulic variables (water content available, non-available water content, air capacity, saturated hydraulic conductivity). These variables are obtained from databases like HYPRES or AARDEWERK or from pedotransfer functions. The computation of Pc takes into account the spatial structure of the data: in some cases, data are abundant (e.g. texture data) and spatial variability is taken into account through geostatistical methods. In other cases, the data is sparse but uncertainty information can be extracted from the knowledge of the statistical distribution. Maps of the most probable Pc class are produced. Uncertainty is computed as the classification error probability. Implementation of these methods in Wallonia showed that Pc values higher than 120 kPa are reached either on 64 % of the territory at pF 2.5 or on 55 % at pF 1.8. A higher uncertainty was found at pF 2.5 than at pF 1.8. Uncertainty was also found higher for clay and clayed loess than for other textural classes present in Wallonia. The risk of compaction is defined as the probability that Pc is exceeded by the stress created by a load applied to the soil at a depth of 40 cm, the loads being similar to those induced by agricultural or forestry tires. It appeared that subsoil compaction risks exist mainly in loamy forest soils with small coarse fragments supporting loads similar to that existing on logging machines. In the zones where the uncertainty is low, the developed tool could be used as a basis for providing policy measures in order to promote soil-friendly farming and forest practices. [less ▲]

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See detailToward a tool aimed to quantify soil compaction risks at a regional scale: application to Wallonia (Belgium)
D'Or, Dimitri; Destain, Marie-France ULg

in Soil & Tillage Research (2014), 144

The spatial analysis of the soil compaction risk has been developed at the regional level and applied to Wallonia (Belgium). The methodology is based on the estimation of the probability of exceeding the ... [more ▼]

The spatial analysis of the soil compaction risk has been developed at the regional level and applied to Wallonia (Belgium). The methodology is based on the estimation of the probability of exceeding the preconsolidation stress due to the application of loads on the soil. Preconsolidation stresses (Pc) are computed from the pedotransfer functions of Horn and Fleige (2003) at pF 1.8 and 2.5 and classified into 6 categories ranging from very low Pc (< 30 kPa) to extremely high Pc (> 150 kPa). The computation requires the knowledge of pedological (texture, organic content), mechanical (bulk density, cohesion, internal friction angle), and hydraulic variables (water content available, non-available water content, air capacity, saturated hydraulic conductivity). These variables are obtained from databases like HYPRES or AARDEWERK or from pedotransfer functions. The computation of Pc takes into account the spatial structure of the data: in some cases, data are abundant (e.g. texture data) and spatial variability is taken into account through geostatistical methods. In other cases, the data is sparse but uncertainty information can be extracted from the knowledge of the statistical distribution. Maps of the most probable Pc class are produced. Uncertainty is computed as the classification error probability. Implementation of these methods in Wallonia showed that Pc values higher than 120 kPa are reached either on 64 % of the territory at pF 2.5 or on 55 % at pF 1.8. A higher uncertainty was found at pF 2.5 than at pF 1.8. Uncertainty was also found higher for clay and clayed loess than for other textural classes present in Wallonia. The risk of compaction is defined as the probability that Pc is exceeded by the stress created by a load applied to the soil at a depth of 40 cm, the loads being similar to those induced by agricultural or forestry tires. It appeared that subsoil compaction risks exist mainly in loamy forest soils with small coarse fragments supporting loads similar to that existing on logging machines. In the zones where the uncertainty is low, the developed tool could be used as a basis for providing policy measures in order to promote soil-friendly farming and forest practices. [less ▲]

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See detailSystematic analysis of site-specific yield distributions resulting from nitrogen management and climatic variability interactions
Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Basso, Bruno; Leemans, Vincent ULg et al

in Precision Agriculture (2014)

At the plot level, crop simulation models such as STICS have the potential to evaluate risk associated with management practices. In nitrogen (N) management, however, the decision-making process is ... [more ▼]

At the plot level, crop simulation models such as STICS have the potential to evaluate risk associated with management practices. In nitrogen (N) management, however, the decision-making process is complex because the decision has to be taken without any knowledge of future weather conditions. The objective of this paper is to present a general methodology for assessing yield variability linked to climatic uncertainty and variable N rate strategies. The STICS model was coupled with the LARS-Weather Generator. The Pearson system and coefficients were used to characterise the shape of yield distribution. Alternatives to classical statistical tests were proposed for assessing the normality of distributions and conducting comparisons (namely, the Jarque-Bera and Wilcoxon tests, respectively). Finally, the focus was put on the probability risk assessment, which remains a key point within the decision process. The simulation results showed that, based on current N application practice among Belgian farmers (60 60 60 kgN ha-1), yield distribution was very highly significantly non normal, with the highest degree of asymmetry characterised by a skewness value of -1.02. They showed that this strategy gave the greatest probability (60%) of achieving yields that were superior to the mean (10.5 t ha-1) of the distribution. [less ▲]

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See detailSoil compaction resulting from different soil tillage systems
Destain, Marie-France ULg; Roisin, Christian; Mercatoris, Benoît ULg

in ASABE - CSBE/ASABE Joint Meeting Presentation (2014, July)

The effects of long-term use (8 years) of two different tillage systems were assessed on a Luvisol, under temperate climate (Belgium). The tillage treatments were (i) conventional tillage (CT) with ... [more ▼]

The effects of long-term use (8 years) of two different tillage systems were assessed on a Luvisol, under temperate climate (Belgium). The tillage treatments were (i) conventional tillage (CT) with moldboard ploughing to 27 cm depth and (ii) reduced tillage (RT) with a spring tine cultivator to 10 cm depth. The measurements included bulk density (BD) and precompression stress (Pc) chosen as indicators of mechanical strength, and the pore size distribution (PSD) measured by mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP). The tillage systems, the depth and their interaction had a significant effect on BD, Pc and PSD. In CT, in the topsoil, the soil strength was low and the total porosity n was about 50 %. In the subsoil, n decreased to 43 %. The PSD of CT was uni-modal in topsoil and subsoil in the MIP measurement range. The mean value of the mode rmax diminished from the topsoil toward the subsoil (from 2.5 microns to 1.9 microns). In RT, in the topsoil, the soil strength was higher than CT. BD did not vary much according to the depth. The total porosity n of RT was comprised between 40-45 % in the soil profile. The PSD was uni-modal and rmax increased from topsoil (around 2 microns) to subsoil (> 3 microns). This suggested the agglomeration of fine particles under the long-term action of mechanical loads, climatic agents, biological organisms or clay minerals acting as cementing agents. These phenomena could be at the origin of the increase of Pc with the depth without significant modification of BD. Such high values of Pc could be responsible of negative effects on root-growth leading to a more superficial root lateral development. [less ▲]

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See detailRisk assessment of soil compaction in Walloon Region
D'Or, Dimitri; Destain, Marie-France ULg

in Proceedings of geoENV2014 (2014, July)

It is well established that soil compaction affects the growth and functioning of roots and disrupts the activity of microfauna and soil microorganisms, resulting in a loss of yields. Agriculture and ... [more ▼]

It is well established that soil compaction affects the growth and functioning of roots and disrupts the activity of microfauna and soil microorganisms, resulting in a loss of yields. Agriculture and forestry using increasingly heavy machines, the risk of soil compaction is increasing accordingly. Chosen as indicator of the susceptibility of soils to compaction, the precompression stress (Pc) is calculated using the pedotransfer functions (PTFs) proposed by Horn and Fleige (2003). These PTFs involve eight parameters linked to the hydraulic and mechanical behaviour of soils: organic matter content, bulk density, air capacity, available and non-plant available water capacity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, cohesion and angle of internal friction. The challenge consists in producing Pc maps at the regional scale for Wallonia. Those maps should also be accompanied by estimation uncertainty map. Finally, the results should be exploited to produce compaction risk maps according to various frequent scenarios. In this paper, a methodology is proposed, combining geostatistics and Monte Carlo simulations, to achieve these goals. [less ▲]

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See detailPredicting Grain Protein Content of Winter Wheat
Mansouri, Majdi ULg; Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Destain, Marie-France ULg

in ESANN 2014 Proceedings (2014, April 24)

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See detailBayesian methods for predicting and modelling winter wheat biomass
Mansouri, Majdi ULg; Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Destain, Marie-France ULg

Poster (2014, February)

The objectives of this paper are threefold. The first objective is to propose to use an Improved Particle Filtering (IPF) based on minimizing Kullback-Leibler divergence for crop models' predictions. The ... [more ▼]

The objectives of this paper are threefold. The first objective is to propose to use an Improved Particle Filtering (IPF) based on minimizing Kullback-Leibler divergence for crop models' predictions. The performances of the proposed technique are compared with those of the conventional Particle Filtering (PF) for improving nonlinear crop model predictions. The main novelty of this task is to develop a Bayesian algorithm for nonlinear and non-Gaussian state and parameter estimation with better proposal distribution. The second objective is to investigate the effects of practical challenges on the performances of state estimation algorithms PF and IPF. Such practical challenges include (i) the effect of measurement noise on the estimation performances and (ii) the number of states and parameters to be estimated. The third objective is to use the state estimation techniques PF and IPF for updating prediction of nonlinear crop model in order to predict winter wheat biomass. PF and IPF are applied at a dynamic crop model with the aim to predict a state variable, namely the winter wheat biomass, and to estimate several model parameters. Furthermore, the effect of measurement noise (e.g., different signal-to-noise ratios) on the performances of PF and IPF is investigated. The results of the comparative studies show that the IPF provides a significant improvement over the PF because, unlike the PF which depends on the choice of sampling distribution used to estimate the posterior distribution, the IPF yields an optimum choice of the sampling distribution, which also accounts for the observed data. [less ▲]

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See detailParameter identification of the STICS crop model, using an accelerated formal MCMC approach
Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Leemans, Vincent ULg; Mansouri, Majdi ULg et al

in Environmental Modelling & Software (2014), 52

This study presents a Bayesian approach for the parameters’ identification of the STICS crop model based on the recently developed Differential Evolution Adaptive Metropolis (DREAM) algorithm. The ... [more ▼]

This study presents a Bayesian approach for the parameters’ identification of the STICS crop model based on the recently developed Differential Evolution Adaptive Metropolis (DREAM) algorithm. The posterior distributions of nine specific crop parameters of the STICS model were sampled with the aim to improve the growth simulations of a winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) culture. The results obtained with the DREAM algorithm were initially compared to those obtained with a Nelder-Mead Simplex algorithm embedded within the OptimiSTICS package. Then, three types of likelihood functions implemented within the DREAM algorithm were compared, namely the standard least square, the weighted least square, and a transformed likelihood function that makes explicit use of the coefficient of variation (CV). The results showed that the proposed CV likelihood function allowed taking into account both noise on measurements and heteroscedasticity which are regularly encountered in crop modelling [less ▲]

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See detailNitrogen fertilisation recommendations : could they be improved using stochastically generated climates in conjunction with crop models ?
Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Basso, Bruno; Meza Morales, Walter ULg et al

in Proceedings of the 12th ICPA (2014)

Accurate determination of optimal Nitrogen (N) recommendations which ensure maximization of farmer's revenue while minimizing the environmental constraint is maybe among the major challenges in ... [more ▼]

Accurate determination of optimal Nitrogen (N) recommendations which ensure maximization of farmer's revenue while minimizing the environmental constraint is maybe among the major challenges in agriculture. Crop models have the potential to deal with such aspects and could thus be used to develop decision support systems. However unknown future weather conditions remains the key point of accurate yield forecast. This paper presents the results of a preliminary study that aims to supply the unknown future with stochastically generated climatic conditions. Coupling the methodology with appropriate decision rules led to a generic decision support system able to guide the N management practices. [less ▲]

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See detailLa compaction des sols agricoles en Wallonie
Destain, Marie-France ULg

Book published by SPW (2014)

Dans nos pays industrialisés, l’agriculture fait appel à des machines de plus en plus lourdes. Lorsque des charges élevées sont appliquées sur des sols sensibles, une compaction du sol peut se produire ... [more ▼]

Dans nos pays industrialisés, l’agriculture fait appel à des machines de plus en plus lourdes. Lorsque des charges élevées sont appliquées sur des sols sensibles, une compaction du sol peut se produire conduisant à des diminutions de rendements suite aux difficultés que rencontrent les racines pour prélever l’eau et les nutriments et à la perturbation de l’activité de la pédofaune. Au niveau environnemental, du fait de la compaction, l’infiltration de l’eau dans le sol est réduite, principalement dans l’horizon superficiel. Une accumulation de l’eau à la surface du sol avec un accroissement des écoulements latéraux et du ruissellement peut apparaître. Il en résulte une augmentation des risques d’inondation et de pollution de surface provenant de l’application d’intrants. Le risque d’érosion sur des sols en pente, même faible, est également accru. En Europe, on estime que 32 % des couches profondes de sol sont largement dégradées. A l’inverse de l’érosion ou de la salinisation qui montrent des signes visibles de dégradation, les effets néfastes de la compaction ne sont pas immédiatement perceptibles. Du fait que la compaction des horizons profonds (au-delà de 30 cm) est un phénomène difficilement réversible par régénération naturelle et que les méthodes de restauration artificielles ne sont pas toujours couronnées de succès, l’Union Européenne considère la compaction comme l’un des facteurs majeurs de la dégradation physique des sols. Le projet de Directive européenne COM(2006)232 amendé par la note 16157/07 du 14 décembre 2007 établit un cadre général pour la protection des sols. Ce projet prévoit notamment que les Etats membres, dont fait partie la Belgique, identifient sur leur territoire les zones susceptibles de présenter des processus de dégradation du sol (érosion, perte de matière organique, compaction, salinisation, contamination et perte de biodiversité). Une fois les zones à risque identifiées, les Etats membres doivent proposer des objectifs de réduction des risques ainsi que des mesures concrètes permettant de les atteindre. Ils sont libres de fixer leurs propres objectifs et de décider comment et quand les atteindre. Le projet SoCo a établi une cartographie de la sensibilité des sols européens à la compaction. Cependant, étant donné sa faible résolution, cette carte ne permet pas de se faire une idée précise de la situation en Wallonie. La Direction générale opérationnelle Agriculture, Ressources naturelles et Environnement du SPW a donc décidé de mettre en œuvre une étude pour analyser de manière plus précise les risques de compaction des sols en Wallonie. [less ▲]

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See detailLa compaction des sols forestiers en Wallonie
Destain, Marie-France ULg

Book published by SPW (2014)

Dans nos pays industrialisés, l’exploitation forestière fait appel à des machines de plus en plus lourdes pour assurer la vidange des coupes et le débardage des grumes. Lorsque des charges élevées sont ... [more ▼]

Dans nos pays industrialisés, l’exploitation forestière fait appel à des machines de plus en plus lourdes pour assurer la vidange des coupes et le débardage des grumes. Lorsque des charges élevées sont appliquées sur des sols sensibles, une compaction du sol peut se produire entraînant une réduction de porosité, avec des conséquences néfastes sur la vitalité des peuplements. Au niveau environnemental, du fait de la compaction, l’infiltration de l’eau dans le sol est réduite, principalement dans l’horizon superficiel. Une accumulation de l’eau à la surface du sol avec un accroissement des écoulements latéraux et du ruissellement peut apparaître. Il en résulte une augmentation des risques d’inondation et de pollution de surface provenant de l’application d’intrants. Le risque d’érosion sur des sols en pente, même faible, est également accru. En Europe, on estime que 32 % des couches profondes de sol sont largement dégradées. A l’inverse de l’érosion ou de la salinisation qui montrent des signes visibles de dégradation, les effets néfastes de la compaction ne sont pas immédiatement perceptibles. Du fait que la compaction des horizons profonds (au-delà de 30 cm) est un phénomène difficilement réversible par régénération naturelle et que les méthodes de restauration artificielles ne sont pas toujours couronnées de succès, l’Union Européenne considère la compaction comme l’un des facteurs majeurs de la dégradation physique des sols. Le projet de Directive européenne COM(2006)232 amendé par la note 16157/07 du 14 décembre 2007 établit un cadre général pour la protection des sols. Ce projet prévoit notamment que les Etats membres, dont fait partie la Belgique, identifient sur leur territoire les zones susceptibles de présenter des processus de dégradation du sol (érosion, perte de matière organique, compaction, salinisation, contamination et perte de biodiversité). Une fois les zones à risque identifiées, les Etats membres doivent proposer des objectifs de réduction des risques ainsi que des mesures concrètes permettant de les atteindre. Ils sont libres de fixer leurs propres objectifs et de décider comment et quand les atteindre. Le projet SoCo a établi une cartographie de la sensibilité des sols européens à la compaction. Cependant, étant donné sa faible résolution, cette carte ne permet pas de se faire une idée précise de la situation en Wallonie. Par ailleurs, le Code Forestier Wallon entré en vigueur le 13 septembre 2008 prévoit explicitement l’interdiction d’occasionner des dégâts au sol qui pourraient avoir des conséquences à long terme sur la vitalité des peuplements. Dans ce cadre, la Direction générale opérationnelle Agriculture, Ressources naturelles et Environnement du SPW a décidé de mettre en œuvre une étude pour analyser de manière plus précise les risques de compaction des sols en Wallonie. [less ▲]

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See detailBayesian methods for predicting LAI and soil water content
Mansouri, Majdi ULg; Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Leemans, Vincent ULg et al

in Precision Agriculture (2014), 15(2), 184-201

LAI of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and soil water content of the topsoil (200 mm) and of the subsoil (500 mm) were considered as state variables of a dynamic soil-crop system. This system was ... [more ▼]

LAI of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and soil water content of the topsoil (200 mm) and of the subsoil (500 mm) were considered as state variables of a dynamic soil-crop system. This system was assumed to progress according to a Bayesian probabilistic state space model, in which real values of LAI and soil water content were daily introduced in order to correct the model trajectory and reach better future evolution. The chosen crop model was mini STICS which can reduce the computing and execution times while ensuring the robustness of data processing and estimation. To predict simultaneously state variables and model parameters in this non-linear environment, three techniques were used: Extended Kalman Filtering (EKF), Particle Filtering (PF), and Variational Filtering (VF). The significantly improved performance of the VF method when compared to EKF and PF is demonstrated. The variational filter has a low computational complexity and the convergence speed of states and parameters estimation can be adjusted independently. Detailed case studies demonstrated that the root mean square error (RMSE) of the three estimated states (LAI and soil water content of two soil layers) was smaller and that the convergence of all considered parameters was ensured when using VF. Assimilating measurements in a crop model allows accurate prediction of LAI and soil water content at a local scale. As these biophysical properties are key parameters in the crop-plant system characterization, the system has the potential to be used in precision farming to aid farmers and decision makers in developing strategies for site-specific management of inputs, such as fertilizers and water irrigation. [less ▲]

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See detailULTRASONIC WAVES THROUGH AGRICULTURAL SOILS TO DETERMINE THEIR COMPACTION AND POROSITY LEVEL 
Luong, Jeanne ULg; Mercatoris, Benoît ULg; Destain, Marie-France ULg

Poster (2014)

Compaction is one of the major causes of the physical degradation of agricultural soils. The traffic of more and more heavy machines leads to a decrease of the porosity at both the topsoil and subsoil ... [more ▼]

Compaction is one of the major causes of the physical degradation of agricultural soils. The traffic of more and more heavy machines leads to a decrease of the porosity at both the topsoil and subsoil levels. This has negative impacts in agricultural and environmental contexts such as the reduction of soil fertility and water infiltration. This project aims at characterizing in a fast and non-destructive way the state of compaction of an agricultural soil at a local scale using ultrasonic wave propagation. Acoustic signatures of soil samples will be correlated to their compaction level and their porosity distribution. This should allow a better comprehension of the compaction process and help to define critical threshold. As a result, this methodology could assist in taking restrictive measures such as load limitation of agricultural engines and implementing remedial methods. This poster presents the experimental protocol implement for this research. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessing the potential of an algorithm based on mean climatic data to predict wheat yield
Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Leemans, Vincent ULg; Ferrandis, Salvador et al

in Precision Agriculture (2014)

The real-time non-invasive determination of crop biomass and yield prediction is one of the major challenges in agriculture. An interesting approach lies in using process-based crop yield models in ... [more ▼]

The real-time non-invasive determination of crop biomass and yield prediction is one of the major challenges in agriculture. An interesting approach lies in using process-based crop yield models in combination with real-time monitoring of the input climatic data of these models, but unknown future weather remains the main obstacle to reliable yield prediction. Since accurate weather forecasts can be made only a short time in advance, much information can be derived from analyzing past weather data. This paper presents a methodology that addresses the problem of unknown future weather by using a daily mean climatic database, based exclusively on available past measurements. It involves building climate matrix ensembles, combining different time ranges of projected mean climate data and real measured weather data originating from the historical database or from real-time measurements performed in the field. Used as an input for the STICS crop model, the datasets thus computed were used to perform statistical within-season biomass and yield prediction. This work demonstrated that a reliable predictive delay of 3-4 weeks could be obtained. In combination with a local micrometeorological station that monitors climate data in real-time, the approach also enabled us to (i) predict potential yield at the local level, (ii) detect stress occurrence and (iii) quantify yield loss (or gain) drawing on real monitored climatic conditions of the previous few days. [less ▲]

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See detailA comparison of within-season yield prediction methodologies
Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Basso, Bruno; Bodson, Bernard ULg et al

Conference (2013, November)

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