Accounting for soil moisture improves prediction of flowering time in chickpea and wheat

Sci Rep. 2019 May 17;9(1):7510. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-43848-6.


Matching crop phenology to environment is essential to improve yield and reduce risk of losses due to extreme temperatures, hence the importance of accurate prediction of flowering time. Empirical evidence suggests that soil water can influence flowering time in chickpea and wheat, but simulation models rarely account for this effect. Adjusting daily thermal time accumulation with fractional available soil water in the 0-60 cm soil layer improved the prediction of flowering time for both chickpea and wheat in comparison to the model simulating flowering time with only temperature and photoperiod. The number of post-flowering frost events accounted for 24% of the variation in observed chickpea yield using a temperature-photoperiod model, and 66% of the variation in yield with a model accounting for top-soil water content. Integrating the effect of soil water content in crop simulation models could improve prediction of flowering time and abiotic stress risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't