Based on studies concerning dry matter (DM) partitioning, DM production, root growth, nitrogen
(N) contents of cauliflower organs and soil nitrate availability (first part of the
paper Kage et al.
2003b), an integrated simulation model for the cauliflower/soil system is constructed, parameterized and evaluated.
Dry matter production of cauliflower is described and predicted using a simple light use efficiency (LUE) based approach assuming a linear decrease of light use efficiency with increasing differences between actual, NCAProt, and ‘optimal’, NCAoptProt area based leaf protein concentrations. For 2 experimental years the decline of LUE with decreasing nitrogen concentration was at 0·82 and 0·75 (g DM×m2/(MJ×g N)). Using the parameters obtained from the first experimental year shoot DM production data of cauliflower from five independent experiments with varied N supply containing intermediate harvests could be predicted with a residual mean square error (RMSE) of 72 g/m2 for intermediate harvest DM values ranging from about 50 to 900 g/m2. Nitrogen uptake and partitioning of cauliflower was simulated using functions describing an organ size dependent decline of N content. Leaf nitrate was considered explicitly as a radiation intensity dependent pool, mobilized first under N deficiency. The curd was assumed to have a sink priority for nitrogen. The model predicted shoot N uptake including data of intermediate harvest with a RMSE of 2·4 g/m2 for intermediate harvest N values ranging from about 3 to 30 g/m2. Nitrogen uptake of cauliflower at final harvest was correlated to final leaf number.
A scenario simulation was carried out to quantify seasonal variation in N uptake of cauliflower cultivars under unrestricted N availability. Due to variations in the length of the vernalization phase, simulated shoot N uptake ranged from about 260 kg N/ha for spring planted crops to about 290 kg N/ha for summer planted crops of the cultivar ‘Fremont’. The cultivar ‘Linday’, which shows a more severe delay of vernalization under high temperatures, shows on average a larger shoot N uptake for summer planted crops of about 320 kg N/ha and a much larger variation of shoot N uptake.