On the use of radiation- and water-use efficiency for biomass production models

Claudio O. Stöckle, Armen R. Kemanian, Cristián Kremer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

10 Citations (SciVal)


Simple biomass production models are used to assess performance of crops under a wide range of environments. The most widely used are based on radiation-use efficiency (e) and water-use efficiency (w). We used a canopy transpiration and photosynthesis (CTP) model to obtain simulated daily values of e and w for maize (Zea mays L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and to assess their response to weather variation at eight locations. The modeled daily e fluctuated dramatically in response to weather variability even when crop and soil conditions were kept invariant. In wheat, e correlated negatively to solar radiation, vapor pressure deficit (Da), and Penman-Monteith reference crop evapotranspiration, and positively with diffuse fraction of solar radiation. In maize, the association with these variables was good only over a portion of the range of variation for the variables; when days with average temperature below 25°C were excluded the association was stronger across the entire range. The interactive effect of all variables on e is hard to separate; for both crops, e could vary by up to twofold for a given value of any of the variables. Daily w was inversely related to vapor pressure deficit (maize: w = 10.3D a -0.42; wheat: w = 6.5D a -0.47), showing a stronger association than any obtained for e and without major fluctuations attributable to temperature. The estimated w showed more variability when the vapor pressure deficit was below 1 and 1.5 kPa for wheat and maize, respectively. Daily w was also inversely related to the Penman-Monteith reference crop evapotranspiration; the association with other weather variables was weak. Under water stress w tended to increase, almost preserving unstressed biomass gain until transpiration was reduced below 80% of the unstressed value, with biomass gain decreasing sharply with further transpiration reduction. Overall, this simulation study supports the use of w-based biomass gain models over e-based models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResponse of Crops to Limited Water
Subtitle of host publicationUnderstanding and Modeling Water Stress Effects on Plant Growth Processes
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780891181880
ISBN (Print)9780891181675
StatePublished - Oct 26 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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