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Questions for Grading CGS


Questions for Grading with the Crop Growth Simulator
Growing our Future Food Crops includes a ‘Crop Growth Simulator’. With help of this simulation model it
is possible to analyse processes discussed in the videos. This week we focus on potential production.

Information on the settings of the model

In temperate regions, winter rains often ensure soils to be at eld capacity in spring, when crop growth
starts. In warm and dry regions, farmers generally sow their crops after several showers, resulting in
su cient soil water for crop growth. In the Crop Growth Simulator the amount of water in the soil at the
beginning of the growing season is set to eld capacity (pF 2.3). The model applies to at areas, so run-
on and run-o are zero, and it does not include capillary rise.

Using the Crop Growth Simulator, you can now also select the soil type and irrigation.

Calculate with this Crop Growth Simulator the questions below.

For more information about the Crop Growth Simulator go to Week 0. To use the model in a bigger
window, you can open the Crop Growth Simulator in a new window.

Introduction Crop Production situation Growth conditions Simulation run Analysis

CROP GROWTH SIMULATOR


The 'crop growth simulator' simulates crop production

(1) for a variety of crops

(2) for specified production situations: potential production, water limited production and water +
nitrogen limited production

(3) at local growth conditions, characterized by climate data in different years and for different soil
conditions

All 3 inputs (green tabs) are required for a 'simulation run' to view results, wich can be saved for
further 'analyses'

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Questions for Grading with Simulator


2/25 points (graded)

Use the Crop Growth Simulator to calculate the water limited yield on a coarse soil and the water limited
yield on a medium ne soil for maize in Ghana in the year 2010. Save the results of both simulation runs
(in tab “simulation run”). Use the button “Analysis” in the green top bar and compare both runs using the
following questions.

From the assignments to practice you know that on the coarse sand the rst period with water shortage
was between days 10-30.

Question 1:
Soil type: the in uence of soil type on water limited crop production

What is the water limited yield of maize in Ghana in the year 2010 on a coarse soil in t DM/ha (2
decimals, e.g. 1.23)?

2.82  Answer: 8.28

What is the water limited yield of maize in Ghana in the year 2010 on a medium ne soil in t DM/ha (2
decimals)?
Tip: choose the soil type in the tab “Growth conditions”.

3.17  Answer: 8.52

Explanation
Correct answers: 8.28 and 8.52.

Question 2:
Soil type: make a water balance for both situations over the whole growing season

Indicate for each of the processes below the values on the water balance at the end of the growing
season for the potential and for the water limited situation.

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Water limited production: Medium fine


Water limited production: Coarse soil
soil
Water supply

105  105 
Rainfall (mm)
Answer: 668 Answer: 668

0  0 
Irrigation (mm)
Answer: 0 Answer: 0

105  105 
Total supply (mm)
Answer: 668 Answer: 668

Water use

37  43 
Crop transpiration
(mm) Answer: 225 Answer: 237

49  73 
Soil evaporation
(mm) Answer: 125 Answer: 165

31  5 
Drainage (mm)
Answer: 317 Answer: 267

117  121 
Total water use
(mm) Answer: 667 Answer: 669

Explanation

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Correct answers:

Question 3:
Soil type: water storage capacity of the soil

In the model the soil is at eld capacity at a pF value of 2.3 and the permanent wilting point is at pF value
4.2.

What is the plant available water (water storage capacity) of the coarse soil expressed in %?

13  Answer: 8

Explanation
Correct answer: 8.
Further explanation:
Look at the pF curve in tab growth conditions:
soil moisture content at pF 2.3 is 13%
soil moisture content at pF 4.2 is 5%
The di erence is available water for crop growth: 13-5= 8%.

What is the plant available water (water storage capacity) of the medium ne soil expressed in %?

24  Answer: 14

Explanation
Correct answer: 14.
Further explanation:
Look at the pF curve in tab growth conditions:
soil moisture content at pF 2.3 is 24%
soil moisture content at pF 4.2 is 10%
The di erence is available water for crop growth: 24-10= 14%.

Question 4:
Which of the following statements are correct in explaining the di erence in crop yield between the
coarse and medium ne soils as we calculated in questions 1-3? Note: make sure you select all of the
correct options - there may be more than one!

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1. In the beginning of the growing season the coarse soil has a larger amount of water available
for crops, but it drains before it can be taken up by the crop.

2. The medium ne soil has smaller soil pores which results is a larger water supplying capacity.

3. In the beginning of the growing season water limitation starts at a later moment in time on the
medium ne soil than on the coarse soil, leading to less growth reduction and a higher yield at
harvesting. 

4. Evaporation from the soil is larger on the medium ne soil and hence less water is used by the
crop than on the coarse soil.

5. Although evaporation from the soil is higher on the medium ne soil, drainage is lower and
more water is used by the crop 

Explanation
Correct answers: 2., 3. and 5.
Further explanation:
1: The coarse soil has a lower water availability at the start of the growing season (8%) than the medium
ne soil (14%)
4: Evaporation is indeed larger on the medium ne soil, but drainage is lower and the overall result is a
higher water use by the crop on the medium ne soil (237 mm) than on the course soil (225 mm),
resulting in a higher yield.

Question 5:
Irrigation: e ect of irrigation

Start with the same simulation runs:


- Crop: maize
- Location: Ghana
- Year: 2010

Go to the tab “Growth conditions “ and “irrigation”. Read the text and select “automatic irrigation”. Run
the model for the coarse and the medium ne soil type and compare the runs using the following
questions

What is the crop yield now on the coarse soil type in t DM/ha (2 decimals)?

5.15  Answer: 9.23

What is the crop yield now on the medium ne soil type in t DM/ha (2 decimals)?

5.16  Answer: 9.24

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Explanation
Correct answers: 9.23 and 9.24.

Question 6: Water Use E ciency (WUE) What is the water use e ciency of the crop expressed in kg
DM of the economic product per mm water used for the coarse soil in kg DM/mm? (no decimals,e.g. 1)

70  Answer: 11

Explanation
Correct answer: 11.
Further explanation:
144 mm irrigation + 668 rainfall = 812 mm
9240/812 = 11 kg DM/mm water
See also the video on drought tolerance in section 3.5

What is the water use e ciency of the crop expressed in kg DM of the economic product per mm water
used for the medium ne soil in kg DM/mm? (no decimals)

70  Answer: 13

Explanation
Correct answer: 13.
Further explanation:
62 mm irrigation + 668 rainfall = 730 mm
9240/730 = 13 kg DM/mm water

Question 7:
In the model we calculate the amount of water that e ectively can be taken up by the crop, independent
of the irrigation system. How does the water use e ciency change compared to values calculated if we
apply sprinkler irrigation to the crop and explain (via statements)?

The WUE ...

Does not change 

Increases

Decreases 

Indicate which of the following statements are correct? Note: make sure you select all of the correct
options - there may be more than one!

When using sprinkler irrigation...

1. You need to supply more water than calculated by the model, as not all water supplied can be
taken up by the crop: part evaporates into the air or percolates to below the rooted zone. 

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2. You need to supply more water than calculated by the model to achieve the same yield and
hence the WUE increases.

3. You need to supply more water than calculated by the model to achieve the same yield and
hence the WUE decreases. 

4. In pratice, water cannot be not applied at the exact moment it is needed by the crop (at the
crop speci c pF-value of the soil where water limitation starts), so either too much or too little is
supplied compared to the crop water demand. 

5. Plants can take up more water than calculated by the model if sprinkler irrigation is used.

Explanation
Correct answers: Decreases, and statements 1., 3., and 4 are correct.
Further explanation:
The following answers are false:
2: if you need to supply more water the water use e ciency decreases
5: the irrigation calculated by the model is the amount required for non-water limited or potential
production. The crop cannot produce more than potential production and not take up more water than
calculated by the model.

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