Architectural modeling of maize under water stress
Birch, CJ and Thornby, D and Adkins, S and Andrieu, B and Hanan, J, Architectural modeling of maize under water stress, Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 48, (3) pp. 335-341. ISSN 0816-1089 (2008) [Refereed Article]
Two field experiments using maize (Pioneer 31H50) and three watering regimes [(i) irrigated for the whole crop cycle, until anthesis, (ii) not at all (experiment 1) and (iii) fully irrigated and rain grown for the whole crop cycle (experiment 2)] were conducted at Gatton, Australia, during the 2003-04 season. Data on crop ontogeny, leaf, sheath and internode lengths and leaf width, and senescence were collected at 1- to 3-day intervals. A glasshouse experiment during 2003 quantified the responses of leaf shape and leaf presentation to various levels of water stress. Data from experiment 1 were used to modify and parameterise an architectural model of maize (ADEL-Maize) to incorporate the impact of water stress on maize canopy characteristics. The modified model produced accurate fitted values for experiment 1 for final leaf area and plant height, but values during development for leaf area were lower than observed data. Crop duration was reasonably well fitted and differences between the fully irrigated and rain-grown crops were accurately predicted. Final representations of maize crop canopies were realistic. Possible explanations for low values of leaf area are provided. The model requires further development using data from the glasshouse study and before being validated using data from experiment 2 and other independent data. It will then be used to extend functionality in architectural models of maize. With further research and development, the model should be particularly useful in examining the response of maize production to water stress including improved prediction of total biomass and grain yield. This will facilitate improved simulation of plant growth and development processes allowing investigation of genotype by environment interactions under conditions of suboptimal water supply.