Modelling the dynamic of canopy development in APSIM wheat

Bangyou Zheng1, Fernanda Dreccer2, Scott Chapman1, 3, Enli Wang4, Karine Chenu5*

1 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Queensland Biosciences Precinct 306 Carmody Road, St Lucia, 4067, QLD, Australia,
2 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Cooper Laboratory, Warrego Highway, Gatton, 4343, Australia,
3 School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, Gatton QLD 4343, Australia,
4 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, PO Box 1600, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia,
5 The University of Queensland, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), 203 Tor Street, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia

* Corresponding Author: Tel: +61 (0)7 4529 4127, email:


Traits related with water productivity in dryland cropping interact in multiple ways to influence final grain yield. The APSIM-Wheat model has proved useful to address how to best combine traits for region-specific and management-specific adaptation of new genotypes. However, the model requires further effort to accurately simulate important traits associated with enhanced water productivity, especially during the vegetative stage. Field experiments were conducted in 2015 and 2016 to assess variation and covariation in traits related to canopy development, e.g. tillering and leaf area development. An improved wheat model has been developed with, in particular, distinction of between the different tillers and their characteristics (e.g. leaf size and life span) by using the plant model framework (PMF) in APSIM Next Generation. The new model allows more accurate predictions of major traits related to canopy development (e.g. tiller number and leaf area index) during the growing season. The improved wheat model was evaluated in different environments and can be used to evaluate genotypic variations in traits related to water productivity.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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