Skip to main content Accessibility help

Seasonal forecasting of green water components and crop yield of summer crops in Serbia and Austria

  • B. Lalić (a1), A. Firanj Sremac (a1), J. Eitzinger (a2), R. Stričević (a3), S. Thaler (a2), I. Maksimović (a1), M. Daničić (a1), D. Perišić (a4) and Lj. Dekić (a5)...


A probabilistic crop forecast based on ensembles of crop model output estimates, presented here, offers an ensemble of possible realizations and probabilistic forecasts of green water components, crop yield and green water footprints (WFs) on seasonal scales for selected summer crops. The present paper presents results of an ongoing study related to the application of ensemble forecasting concepts in crop production. Seasonal forecasting of crop water use indicators (evapotranspiration (ET), water productivity, green WF) and yield of rainfed summer crops (maize, spring barley and sunflower), was performed using the AquaCrop model and ensemble weather forecast, provided by The European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecast. The ensemble of estimates obtained was tested with observation-based simulations to assess the ability of seasonal weather forecasts to ensure that accuracy of the simulation results was the same as for those obtained using observed weather data. Best results are obtained for ensemble forecast for yield, ET, water productivity and green WF for sunflower in Novi Sad (Serbia) and maize in Groß-Enzersdorf (Austria) – average root mean square error (2006–2014) was <10% of observation-based values of selected variables. For variables yielding a probability distribution, capacity to reflect the distribution from which their outcomes will be drawn was tested using an Ignorance score. Average Ignorance score, for all locations, crops and variables varied from 1.49 (spring barley ET in Groß-Enzersdorf) to 3.35 (sunflower water productivity in Groß-Enzersdorf).

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Seasonal forecasting of green water components and crop yield of summer crops in Serbia and Austria
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Seasonal forecasting of green water components and crop yield of summer crops in Serbia and Austria
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Seasonal forecasting of green water components and crop yield of summer crops in Serbia and Austria
      Available formats


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: B. Lalić, E-mail:,


Hide All
Allison, FE, Roller, EM and Raney, WA (1958) Relationship between evapotranspiration and yields of crops grown in lysimeters receiving natural rainfall. Agronomy Journal 50, 506511.
Anderson, DLT, Stockdale, T, Balmaseda, M, Ferranti, L, Vitart, F, Molteni, F, Doblas-Reyes, F, Mogenson, K and Vidard, A (2007) Seasonal forecast system 3. ECMWF Newsletter 110, 1925.
APCC (2014) Österreichischer Sachstandsbericht Klimawandel 2014 (Austrian Assessment Report 14). Austrian Panel on Climate Change (APCC). Vienna, Austria: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Araya, A, Habtu, S, Hadgu, KM, Kebede, A and Dejene, T (2010) Test of AquaCrop model in simulating biomass and yield of water deficient and irrigated barley (Hordeum vulgare). Agricultural Water Management 97, 18381846.
Eitzinger, J, Trnka, M, Semerádová, D, Thaler, S, Svobodová, E, Hlavinka, P, Siska, B, Takáč, J, Malatinská, L, Nováková, M, Dubrovský, M and Zalud, Z (2013) Regional climate change impacts on agricultural crop production in Central and Eastern Europe – hotspots, regional differences and common trends. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 151, 787812.
Ercin, AE and Hoekstra, AY (2012) Water Footprint Scenarios for 2050: A Global Analysis and Case Study for Europe. Value of Water Research Report Series No. 59. Delft, The Netherlands: UNESCO-IHE.
Feng, G, Cobb, S, Abdo, Z, Fisher, DL, Ouyang, Y, Adeli, A and Jenkins, JN (2016) Trend analysis and forecast of precipitation, reference evapotranspiration, and rainfall deficit in the Blackland Prairie of eastern Mississippi. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 55, 14251439.
Foster, T, Brozovic, N, Butler, AP, Neale, CMU, Raes, D, Steduto, P, Fereres, E and Hsiao, TC (2017) AquaCrop-OS: an open source version of FAO's crop water productivity model. Agricultural Water Management 181, 1822.
Gobin, A, Kersebaum, KC, Eitzinger, J, Trnka, M, Hlavinka, P, Takáč, J, Kroes, J, Ventrella, D, Dalla Marta, A, Deelstra, J, Lalić, B, Nejedlik, P, Orlandini, S, Peltonen-Sainio, P, Rajala, A, Saue, T, Şaylan, L, Stričevic, R, Vučetić, V and Zoumides, C (2017) Variability in the water footprint of arable crop production across European regions. Water 9, 93, 10.3390/w902009.
Gocic, M and Trajkovic, S (2014) Spatiotemporal characteristics of drought in Serbia. Journal of Hydrology 510, 110123.
Good, IJ (1952) Rational decisions. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B: Methodological 14, 107114.
Hanks, RJ (1983) Yield and water-use relationships: an overview. In Taylor, HM, Jordan, WA and Sinclair, TR (eds). Limitations to Efficient Water Use in Crop Production. Madison, WI: ASA, pp. 393411.
Heng, LK, Hsiao, T, Evett, S, Howell, T and Steduto, P (2009) Validating the FAO AquaCrop model for irrigated and water deficient field maize. Agronomy Journal 101, 488498.
Higgins, S (2015) Limitations to seasonal weather prediction and crop forecasting due to nonlinearity and model inadequacy. PhD Dissertation, The London School of Economics and Political Science, London.
Higgins, S, Du, H, Smit, LA (2016) On the design and use of ensembles of multi-model simulations for forecasting. pp. 1–24. arXiv:1603.00393v1.
Hillel, D and Guron, Y (1973) Relation between evapotranspiration rate and maize yield. Water Resources Research 9, 743748.
Hoekstra, AY, Chapagain, AK, Aldaya, MM and Mekonnen, MM (2011) The Water Footprint Assessment Manual: Setting the Global Standard. London, UK: Earthscan Ltd.
Lalic, B, Eitzinger, J, Mihailovic, DT, Thaler, S and Jancic, M (2012) Climate change impacts on winter wheat yield change – which climatic parameters are crucial in Pannonian lowland? Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 151, 757774.
Lalic, B, Eitzinger, J, Thaler, S, Vučetić, V, Nejedlik, P, Eckersten, H, Jaćimović, G and Nikolić-Djorić, E (2014) Can agrometeorological indices of adverse weather conditions help to improve yield prediction by crop models? Atmosphere 5, 10201041.
Lalic, B, Firanj Sremac, A, Dekic, L, Eitzinger, J and Perisic, D (2017) Seasonal forecasting of green water components and crop yields of winter wheat in Serbia and Austria. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge, 117. doi: 10.1017/S0021859617000788.
Mahfouf, JF (1990) A numerical simulation of the surface water budget during HAPEX- MOBILHY. Boundary-Layer Meteorology 53, 201222.
Mekonnen, MM and Hoekstra, AY (2010) The Green, Blue and Grey Water Footprint of Crops and Derived Crop Products. Volume I: Main Report. Value of Water Research Report Series No. 47. Delft, The Netherlands: UNESCO-IHE. Available at (Accessed 14 December 2017).
Miguel-Ayala, L, van Eupen, M, Zhang, GP, Pérez-Soba, M, Martorano, LG, Lisboa, LS and Beltrao, NE (2016) Impact of agricultural expansion on water footprint in the Amazon under climate change scenarios. Science of the Total Environment 569–570, 11591173.
Mihailović, DT, Lalić, B, Drešković, N, Mimić, G, Djurdjević, V and Jančić, M (2015) Climate change effects on crop yields in Serbia and related shifts of Köppen climate zones under the SRES-A1B and SRES-A2. International Journal of Climatology 35, 33203334.
Mirosavljević, M, Pržulj, N, Momčilović, V, Hristov, N and Maksimović, I (2015) Dry matter accumulation and remobilization in winter barley as affected by genotype and sowing date. Genetika 47, 751763.
Müller, W (1993) Agroklimatische Kennzeichnung des Marchfelds, Beiheft 3 zu den Jahrbüchern der Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik. Vienna, Austria: Eigenverlag.
Nyakudya, IW and Stroosnijder, L (2014) Effect of rooting depth, plant density and planting date on maize (Zea mays L.) yield and water use efficiency in semi-arid Zimbabwe: modelling with AquaCrop. Agricultural Water Management 146, 280296.
Pielke, PA (1984) Mesoscale Meteorological Modeling. New York, NY: Academic Press.
Raes, D, Steduto, P, Hsiao, TC and Fereres, E (2009) Aquacrop – the FAO crop model to simulate yield response to water: II. Main algorithms and software description. Journal of Agronomy 101, 438447.
Raes, D, Steduto, P, Hsiao, TC and Fereres, E (2016) AquaCrop Version 5.0 Reference Manual. Rome, Italy: FAO.
Roulston, MS and Smith, LA (2002) Evaluating probabilistic forecasts using information theory. Monthly Weather Review 130, 16531660.
Schlenker, W and Roberts, M (2006) Nonlinear effects of weather on crop yields. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy 28, 391398.
Steduto, P, Hsiao, TC and Fereres, E (2007) On the conservative behavior of biomass water productivity. Irrigation Science 25, 189207.
Steduto, P, Hsiao, TC, Raes, D and Fereres, E (2009) Aquacrop – The FAO crop model to simulate yield response to water: I. Concepts and underlying principles. Journal of Agronomy 101, 426437.
Stričević, R and Djurović, N (2013) Determination of spatiotemporal distribution of agricultural drought in Central Serbia (Šumadija). Scientific Research and Essays 8, 438446.
Stričević, R, Ćosić, M, Djurović, N, Pejić, B and Maksimović, L (2011 a) Assessment of the FAO ‘Aquacrop’ model in the simulation of rainfed and supplementally irrigated maize, sugar beet and sunflower. Agricultural Water Management 98, 16151621.
Stričević, R, Djurović, N and Đurović, Ž (2011 b) Drought classification in northern Serbia based on SPI and statistical pattern recognition. Meteorological Applications 18, 6069.
Thaler, S, Eitzinger, J, Trnka, M and Dubrovsky, M (2012) Impacts of climate change and alternative adaptation options on winter wheat yield and water productivity in a dry climate in Central Europe. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 150, 537555.
Thaler, S, Gobin, A and Eitzinger, J (2017) Water footprint of main crops in Austria. Die Bodenkultur. Journal of Land Management, Food and Environment 68, 115.
Todorovic, M, Albrizio, R, Zivotic, L, Saab, MTA, Stöckle, C and Steduto, P (2009) Assessment of AquaCrop, CropSyst, and WOFOST models in the simulation of sunflower growth under different water regimes. Agronomy Journal 101, 509521.
Toth, Z, Talagrand, O, Candille, G and Zhu, Y (2003) Probability and ensemble forecasts. In Jolliffe, I and Stephenson, DB (eds). Environmental Forecast Verification: A Practitioner's Guide in Atmospheric Science. Chichester, England: Wiley and Sons, pp. 137163.
Trnka, M, Žalud, Z, Eitzinger, J and Dubrovsky, M (2006) Global solar radiation in Central European lowlands estimated by various empirical formulae. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 131, 5476.
Vanuytrecht, E, Raes, D, Steduto, P, Hsiao, TC, Fereres, E, Heng, LK, Garcia Vila, M and Mejias Moreno, P (2014) Aquacrop: FAO'S crop water productivity and yield response model. Environmental Modelling and Software 62, 351360.
WWAP (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme) (2015). Water for a Sustainable World. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015. Paris, France: UNESCO.
Zhuo, L, Mekonnen, MM and Hoekstra, AY (2016) The effect of inter-annual variability of consumption, production, trade and climate on crop-related green and blue water footprints and inter-regional virtual water trade: a study for China (1978–2008). Water Research 94, 7385.
Zoumides, C, Bruggeman, A, Hadjikakou, M and Zachariadis, T (2014) Policy-relevant indicators for semi-arid nations: the water footprint of crop production and supply utilization of Cyprus. Ecological Indicators 43, 205214.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed