Multi-model evaluation of phenology prediction for wheat in Australia

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Daniel WallachL. Weihermüller


Predicting wheat phenology is important for cultivar selection, for effective crop management and provides a baseline for evaluating the effects of global change. Evaluating how well crop phenology can be predicted is therefore of major interest. Twenty-eight wheat modeling groups participated in this evaluation. Model predictions depend not only on model structure but also on the parameter values. This study is thus an evaluation of modeling groups, which choose the structure and fix or estimate the parameters, rather than an evaluation just of model structures. Our target population was wheat fields in the major wheat growing regions of Australia under current climatic conditions and with current local management practices. The environments used for calibration and for evaluation were both sampled from this same target population. The calibration and evaluation environments had neither sites nor years in common, so this is a rigorous evaluation of the ability of modeling groups to predict phenology for new sites and weather conditions. Mean absolute error (MAE) for the evaluation environments, averaged over predictions of three phenological stages and over modeling groups, was 9 days, with a range from 6 to 20 days. Predictio...Continue Reading

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