Evaluation of AquaCrop and SWAP models in simulating the growth and biomass of different maize cultivars under the conditions of using saline water with drip irrigation system

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Irrigation and Reclamation Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran.


Using simulation models is a key strategy in agricultural water management and an effective way to predict the impact of irrigation management and water quality on crop yield. This study aimed to evaluate the performance of the SWAP and AquaCrop models in simulating the growth and biomass production of three maize varieties under the conditions of using saline water for irrigation with a drip irrigation system at the research farm of Tehran University of Agriculture and Natural Resources Campus. In order to calibrate and validate the models, field data obtained from a factorial experiment with two factors of maize variety (SC704, 400, and 260) and irrigation water salinity (0.7, 3, and 5 dS/m) was used. In the validation stage of the AquaCrop model, the R2, RMSE, and NRMSE statistics for the canopy cover (CC) showed a high level of agreement between the measured and simulated data, with values of 0.953, 5.69, and 8% respectively. For the SWAP model, the calculated statistics for the leaf area index (LAI) were 0.477, 1.610, and 54.2%, respectively. Despite the poor performance of the SWAP model in estimating LAI, both the SWAP and AquaCrop models effectively simulated the biomass of maize cultivars under different treatments. In the calibration and validation stage, RMSE and NRMSE of both models were less than 0.5 ton/ha, with 3% (calibration) and 1 ton/ha, 7% (validation), respectively. In general, both models can be used in various studies for different maize cultivars under irrigation water and soil salinity conditions.


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