Simulating Evapotranspiration and Yield Response of Selected Corn Varieties under Full and Limited Irrigation in the Texas High Plains Using DSSAT-CERES-Maize Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract. Water scarcity due to drought and groundwater depletion has led to increased interest in deficit irrigation strategies that reduce irrigation requirements while maintaining profitable yields. This has resulted in an increase in the number of modeling studies aimed at evaluating crop response to limited irrigation strategies. However, the ability of widely used crop simulation models to accurately represent responses to limited irrigation has not been thoroughly evaluated. The primary objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of DSSAT-CERES-Maize (ver. to simulate leaf area index (LAI), crop evapotranspiration (ET), and yield response to full (100%) and limited (75% and 50%) irrigation regimes for two corn varieties. Comparisons of simulated and measured data from full and limited irrigation treatments of` two drought-tolerant corn hybrids (DuPont Pioneer AQUAmax P1151HR and Pioneer 33D49) grown in the Texas Panhandle in 2013 and 2014 were evaluated. Simulated in-season daily crop ET values for P1151HR grown in 2013 were also compared to those measured by precision large weighing lysimeters at Bushland, Texas. Additionally, a comparison of simulated and measured soil water content (SWC) within the root zone was performed for P1151HR grown in 2013. Simulated LAI for fully irrigated treatments approximated measured values reasonably well, although manipulation of plant genetic parameters failed to match measured LAI during the period between maximum LAI and the beginning of crop senescence in the 50% irrigation treatments. Similarly, simulated yield values approximated measured values for the fully irrigated treatments, while considerable overestimation of yield occurred in the limited irrigation treatments for both varieties. However, consistent overestimation of both LAI and yield for the limited irrigation treatments suggests a functional relationship between LAI and yield. Further, DSSAT overestimated crop ET by 16% for fully irrigated P1151HR and by 40% for limited irrigation treatments in 2013 as compared to measured lysimeter values. Corresponding underestimations of SWC were also observed in neutron probe measurements for both treatments. Overestimation of ET and yield and corresponding underestimation of SWC in limited irrigation treatments were mainly due to overestimation of LAI in those treatments, indicating a potential deficiency in the water stress algorithms. Additional comparisons of agronomic and lysimeter-based water balance data are needed to corroborate the findings of this study. Further investigations into the calculation of reference evapotranspiration (ETo), crop coefficients, and water stress functions in DSSAT are needed in order to provide suggestions for model improvement. Keywords: TCERES-Maize, Crop modeling, DSSAT, Evapotranspiration, Limited irrigation, Lysimeters, Maize, Semi-arid, Sprinkler irrigation, Weighing lysimeters.

published proceedings

  • Transactions of the ASABE

author list (cited authors)

  • Marek, G. W., Marek, T. H., Xue, Q., Gowda, P. H., Evett, S. R., & Brauer, D. K.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Marek, Gary W||Marek, Thomas H||Xue, Qingwu||Gowda, Prasanna H||Evett, Steven R||Brauer, David K

publication date

  • January 2017