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Comparing an empirical crop model with a functional structural plantmodel to account for individual variability

Feng L., Mailhol J.C., Rey H., Griffon S., Auclair D., De Reffye P.. 2014. European Journal of Agronomy, 53 : p. 16-27.

DOI: 10.1016/j.eja.2013.11.005

Corrigendum paru dans European Journal of Agronomy (2014) 58 p. 73 Individual variability generally exists in crop fields. It increases with an increase in plant populationdensity, water or nutrient deficiency, or spatio-temporal irregularity, and often results in a reduction inyield. As individual variability exists in a community but is expressed through individuals, we studied itby applying two models, one at the stand level and the other at the individual level.The crop model PILOTE and the functional structural plant model (FSPM) GreenLab were applied toa field of maize (Zea mays L.) to provide a numerical description of the crop at different levels. Thedelay and slower increase in LAI and in total dry matter at stand level compared to individual level, ledus to hypothesize that uneven emergence could have an effect on variability. We derived a theoreticaldistribution of germination dates, which supported this hypothesis. In parallel, we used GreenLab toanalyze possible sources of variability in accumulated biomass within a dynamic system, and to estimatepossible parameters from experimental data.Using PILOTE and GreenLab, we successfully identified two typical types of individual variability inthe maize field: variability in development over time and variability in competition for space duringgrowth. Our method could be used in future research on the cause and influence of individual variabilityon performance, and to identify the link between an FSPM based on individual plants and a crop modelat stand level.

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