Seasonal effects of drought on herbage growth in Switzerland

There is an increasing interest for using grassland production models in support of grassland management. But for decision aid to be effective, a good model performance under a wide range of environmental conditions is imperative. Calanca et al. examined the ability of the grassland model published by Jouven et al. (2006, Grass Forage Sci. 61, 112–124) to simulate the effects of drought on the seasonal patterns of growth in managed grasslands. Monitoring and experimental data from Switzerland were used as a reference. Results indicate that the model can reliably predict the drought-induced decline in productivity observed in extreme years. They also show that the model can reproduce the experimental findings obtained from manipulation experiments with rain shelters.

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