Evaluation of Agricultural Production Systems Simulator as yield predictor of Panicum virgatum and Miscanthus x giganteus in several US environments



Simulation models for perennial energy crops such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) can be useful tools to design management strategies for biomass productivity improvement in US environments. The Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) is a biophysical model with the potential to simulate the growth of perennial crops. APSIM crop modules do not exist for switchgrass and Miscanthus, however, re‐parameterization of existing APSIM modules could be used to simulate the growth of these perennials. Our aim was to evaluate the ability of APSIM to predict the dry matter (DM) yield of switchgrass and Miscanthus at several US locations. The Lucerne (for switchgrass) and Sugarcane (for Miscanthus) APSIM modules were calibrated using data from four locations in Indiana. A sensitivity analysis informed the relative impact of changes in plant and soil parameters of APSIM Lucerne and APSIM Sugarcane modules. An independent dataset of switchgrass and Miscanthus DM yields from several US environments was used to validate these re‐parameterized APSIM modules. The re‐parameterized modules simulated DM yields of switchgrass [0.95 for CCC (concordance correlation coefficient) and 0 for SB (bias of the simulation from the measurement)] and Miscanthus (0.65 and 0% for CCC and SB, respectively) accurately at most locations with the exception of switchgrass at southern US sites (0.01 for CCC and 2% for SB). Therefore, the APSIM model is a promising tool for simulating DM yields for switchgrass and Miscanthus while accounting for environmental variability. Given our study was strictly based on APSIM calibrations at Indiana locations, additional research using more extensive calibration data may enhance APSIM robustness.

GCB Bioenergy