Working with Dynamic Crop Models: Methods, tools and examples for agriculture and the environment

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05/19/2014 - 05/23/2014
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Agrarlandschaftsforschung
Eberswalder Straße 84

Working with Dynamic Crop Models: Methods, tools and examples for agriculture and the environment

Course organized under the aegis of the MACSUR European initiative

Dates: Monday morning May 19, 2014 to Friday noon, May 23, 2014

Location: Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) Muencheberg (Germany) (near Berlin)


The effective use of crop models requires the use of rigorous methods for working with these models, in particular uncertainty and sensitivity analysis, calibration (using either frequentist or Bayesian techniques) and model evaluation. After an introduction to the principles of system modeling and simulation, this course presents the underlying theory and the practical application of each of the above methods. The widely used programming language R, which is free, has built-in functions that make the methods readily accessible. This language will be taught as part of the course, and used for hands-on exercises where the students will apply the methods that are presented. Throughout, the lectures will use examples to illustrate how the methods have been or can be applied to real crop modeling problems. A final lecture will illustrate, using a simple but realistic crop model, how the methods can be combined in an overall modeling project. The course is based on the book “Working with Dynamic Crop Models, 2nd edition. A copy of the book will be given to each student. In addition to the main topic, there will be daily “change-of-pace” lectures by invited lecturers, on topics of general interest in modeling.


The lecturers, Daniel Wallach, David Makowski, James W. Jones and François Brun, are the authors of the book “Working with Dynamic Crop Models, 2nd edition”. Collectively they have extensive experience in teaching courses on this topic at the graduate level in universities, and have organized and taught several international short courses on this topic.

Targeted participants and prerequisites:

Graduate students and researchers who develop, use or plan to use system models for agro-ecological studies. There are no prerequisites; the basic background needed to follow the course will be presented in the first section of the course.


This course is organized as part of the MACSUR (Modelling European Agriculture with Climate Change for Food Security) European initiative. For more information see MACSUR.

Practical details:

The course is limited to 30 participants, essentially on a first come first served basis. Candidates must fill out the registration form. They will then receive an acceptance email, after which they will be requested to pay the course fee of 750€. The nearest airport to the course venue is Berlin.

Website for registration:

MACSUR website


Dr. Daniel Wallach