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Modelling durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum) grain protein concentration

  • F. ORLANDO (a1), M. MANCINI (a2), R. MOTHA (a3), J.J. QU (a3), S. ORLANDINI (a2) and A. DALLA MARTA (a4)...


The goal of the present study was to improve the CERES-wheat model simulation of grain protein concentration (GPC) for winter durum wheat and to use the model as a basis for the development of a GPC Simplified Forecasting Index (SFIpro). The performances of CERES-wheat, which is one of the most widespread crop simulation models, with (i) its standard GPC routine and (ii) a novel equation developed to improve the model GPC simulation for durum wheat, were assessed through comparison with field data. Subsequently, CERES-wheat was run for a 56-year period in order to identify the most important status and forcing variables affecting GPC simulation. The number of dry days during the early growth stages and the leaf area index (LAI; green leaf area per unit ground surface area) at heading stage (LAI5) were identified as the main variables positively correlated with CERES-wheat predicted GPC, and so included in the SFIpro. At validation against observed data SFIpro was found to perform differently on the basis of observed plant LAI. In fact, SFIpro was able to forecast GPC variability for intermediate values of LAI5 ranging from 1 to 2, while it totally failed when LAI5 was outside this range (LAI5 < 1 or LAI5 > 2). The results suggest that the relationship between LAI and GPC is not linear and that the model assumptions for GPC simulation in CERES-wheat are only partially confirmed, being valid for an intermediate range of LAI.

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