Modeling forage growth in a Midwest USA silvopastoral system Academic Article uri icon


  • Tree effects on understory pasture growth in a silvopastoral system were modeled by explicit simulation of tree canopy light and rainfall interception, evapotranspiration, and nutrient uptake. The algorithms to model these effects were incorporated into a multispecies grazing simulation model, GRASIM, to form the Silvopasture GRASIM model (SGRASIM). The new model was evaluated using forage biomass data and soil moisture data collected from a silvopasture field experiment with black walnut (Juglans nigra L.). The SGRASIM model performed well in simulating the growth of three competing dominant forage species (orchardgrass [Dactylis glomerata L.], Kentucky bluegrass [Poa pratensis L.], and tall fescue [Festuca arundinacea (Schreb.)] in the pasture both under tree canopy and in open pasture (linear regression of observed on simulated biomass for the species gave r 2 values above 0.97). Model growth parameters for forage under tree canopy, compared with those for an open pasture, bear testament to the shading effects from the forest canopy in terms of reduced photosynthetic efficiency, increased leaf area ratio, and photosynthate partitioned to aboveground biomass. The new model reasonably followed the soil moisture time series in the upper soil layer (0-30 cm), where the bulk of the forage roots reside. © Springer 2006.

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhai, T., Mohtar, R. H., Gillespie, A. R., von Kiparski, G. R., Johnson, K. D., & Neary, M.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • July 2006