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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-04-01 - 2021-03-31

Crop simulation models are digital farming tools which provide means to optimize farmer's activities. They capture crop growth and development responses to weather, soil, genetic, and management factors and allow nitrogen (N) fertilizer recommendations, yield forecasting, and climate change impact assessment, provided a sound model parameterization and evaluation using quality data sets. Unfortunately, those are scarce in Austria. Additionally, simulations of leaf canopy development are usually poor, although they are crucial for simulated crop N status. This project aims at (1) investigating the structural differences in leaf canopy simulation of two crop models, (2) parameterizing and evaluating one model for eastern Austria for use in a web-based digital farming tool for improved N fertilizer management, (3) a regional yield forecasting tool for wheat, maize, potato, and sugar beet, and (4) identifying the influence of different model structures on climate change simulations. This project is the first study using detailed scientific field data sets of Austrian crop cultivars and environmental conditions to parameterize two crop simulation models. Data sets for wheat and maize using N fertilizer and sowing date variations are available, further data will be acquired from experiments with different crops. The two contrasting crop models APSIM and SSM are used in this study. SSM is well documented model and easy to parameterize, while APSIM is comparably more complex. First simulations of wheat phenology and yield agreed well with observations. We improved both models' inaccuracy in predicting in-season LAI and N concentrations by detailed model parameterization and implementing new functions. Future work includes the parameterization of other wheat, maize, potato, and sugar beet cultivars for eastern Austria, with focus on leaf canopy development, N fertilizer requirement, and crop yield. All parameterizations will be evaluated using new and independent data sets. Furthermore, a simulation study using different climate change weather data will be conducted. The implications of variation in accuracy of leaf canopy development simulation on adaptation of wheat and maize to future climatic conditions will be discussed.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-09-01 - 2019-12-31

Conservation and utilization of soil fertility is among the key objectives of sustainable cropping system intensification. Cover cropping is a well-established and efficient agro-environmental measure for groundwater protection, erosion control and stabilization of soil organic matter content. Currently there is hardly any scientific information available to quantify cover crop induced mobilization of soil nutrients with low mobility and thereby estimate potential positive effects on a subsequent main crop. Based on soil and plant nutrient analyses for 13 different cover crops and a bare soil control from a field trial, a database for cover crop nutrient mobilization will be established and the effect on nutrient uptake and yield of the subsequent main crop will be determined.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-04-01 - 2017-11-30

Two different systems of potato tower ("Simple" und "Profi"), both protoypes form the company Buttazoni GmbH, 9562 Himmelberg, will be tested regarding their suitability for potato cultivation. In the system „Simple“ the tower elements will be placed alternated to allow the planting of potatoes in the corners of every element. In the system „Profi“, the elements will be placed directly above each other. During the vegetation period, the elements will be constantly filled up with soil. Development, growth and yield of plants will be assessed.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations