Articles | Volume 9, issue 11
Research article
14 Nov 2012
Research article |  | 14 Nov 2012

A model for simulating the timelines of field operations at a European scale for use in complex dynamic models

N. J. Hutchings, G. J. Reinds, A. Leip, M. Wattenbach, J. F. Bienkowski, T. Dalgaard, U. Dragosits, J. L. Drouet, P. Durand, O. Maury, and W. de Vries

Abstract. Complex dynamic models of carbon and nitrogen are often used to investigate the consequences of climate change on agricultural production and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. These models require high temporal resolution input data regarding the timing of field operations. This paper describes the Timelines model, which predicts the timelines of key field operations across Europe. The evaluation of the model suggests that while for some crops a reasonable agreement was obtained in the prediction of the times of field operations, there were some very large differences which need to be corrected. Systematic variations in the date of harvesting and in the timing of the first application of N fertiliser to winter crops need to be corrected and the prediction of soil workability and trafficability might enable the prediction of ploughing and applications of solid manure in preparation for spring crops. The data concerning the thermal time thresholds for sowing and harvesting underlying the model should be updated and extended to a wider range of crops.

Final-revised paper