Crops exhibit known responses in their growth and development to local weather and climate that bear large impacts on crop productivity. Since recent decades, crop simulation models have been widely put to use in assessing the impacts of a changing climate variables (temperature, rainfall solar radiation etc) on crop production, while also targeting appropriate adaptation and mitigation responses. The objective of this study was to evaluate the Cropping System Model (CSM)-CERES-Wheat for its ability to simulate growth and development responses of three different maturity categories of wheat cultivars to the changing climate. Included cultivars were Hollandi, Meda walabu and Sofumer which are widely cultivated in major wheat belts in Ethiopia. The CSM-CERES-Wheat simulation model was calibrated and validated against the experimental data that are collected from Sinana Agricultural Research Centers (SARC). The performance evaluation of the CSM-CERES-Wheat model revealed that the model was able to simulate phenology (days to anthesis and maturity) and grain yield accurately, with root mean square of error ranging between 1.3 to 3.8 and 2.4 to 5.5 days for anthesis and maturity, respectively and, 5.2 and 6.5 qtha-1 for grain yield. The index of agreement (D-statistics) between observed and simulated results were also in the higher range (D>0.87). These results are promising in making the best of crop simulation modeling in wheat technology development and promotion.
Keywords: simulation, calibration, DSSAT, Ethiopia, validation, Wheat