An architectural model of spring wheat : Evaluation of the effects of population density and shading on model parameterization and performance

Evers, J.B.; Vos, J.; Fournier, C.; Andrieu, B.; Chelle, M.; Struik, P.C.


ADELwheat is an architectural model that describes development of wheat in 3D. This paper analyzes the robustness of the parameterization of ADELwheat for spring wheat cultivars in relation to plant population density and shading. The model was evaluated using data from two spring wheat experiments with three plant population densities and two light regimes. Model validation was done at two levels of aggregation: (a) by comparing parameterization functions used as well as parameter values to the data (leaf and tiller appearance, leaf number, blade dimensions, sheath length, internode length) and (b) by comparing ground cover (GC) and leaf area index (LAI) of simulated virtual wheat plots with GC and LAI calculated from data. A sensitivity analysis was performed by modulating parameters defining leaf blade dimensions and leaf or tiller appearance rate. In contrast to population density, shading generally increased phyllochron and delayed tiller appearance. Both at the level of the organ and at the level of the canopy the model performed satisfactorily. Parameterization functions in the model that had been established previously applied to independent data for different conditions; GC and LAI were simulated adequately at three population densities. Sensitivity analysis revealed that calibration of phyllochron and blade area needs to be accurate to prevent disproportional deviations in output. The robustness of the model parameterization and the simulation performance confirmed that the model is a complete architectural model for aboveground development of spring wheat. It can be used in studies that require simulation of spring wheat structure, such as studies on plant¿insect interaction, remote sensing, and light interception.