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During the past several years, crop models have successfully been used to test the hypothesis that water stress is the primary factor that causes spatial yield variability in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] fields. However, there have been few attempts to validate this hypothesis through direct temporal and spatial measurements of water stress during the season. Recently, a technique has been developed to relate plant tissue 13C levels to the temporal water stress experienced by soybean plants. The purpose of this work was to compare the spatial yield loss simulated by a crop model with yield loss measured by 13C discrimination (∆) for a soybean field in South Dakota. The field was divided into 0.9-ha grids and the CROPGRO-Soybean model was calibrated to minimize error between simulated and observed yield in each grid over two seasons (1998, 2000). 13C discrimination was measured at 50 points representing 23 of the grids used in the crop modeling analysis in 2000. Simulated yield loss in grids that encompassed each 13C point in 2000 were compared to measurements of yield loss using the 13C discrimination technique. Initially, the root mean square error and r2 between simulated and measured yield loss was 259 kg ha-1 and 0.24, respectively. Upon closer inspection, it was observed that yield in 5 grids with the highest error likely were influenced by processes that are not represented in the crop model. Removing these values dramatically improved the agreement between simulated and observed yield loss, giving an RMSE of 216 kg ha-1 and r2 of 0.81. Both 13C discrimination and simulation results indicated that substantial yield loss occurred due to water stress in the summit/backslope areas of the field.

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2003 ASAE Annual International Meeting


American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers