The minimum data set (MDS) refers to a minimum set of data required to run the crop models and evaluate crop model simulation and outputs. Evaluation requires:
- Site weather data for the duration of the growing season
- Site soil profile and soil surface data
- Crop management data from the experiment
- Observed experimental data from the experiment
The minimum required weather data include:
- Latitude and longitude of the weather station,
- Daily values of incoming solar radiation (MJ/m²-day),
- Maximum and minimum daily air temperature (ºC), and
- Daily total rainfall (mm).
You may also include dry and wet bulb temperatures and wind speed, which allow for simulating evapotranspiration with more robust methods. The length of weather records for evaluation must, at minimum, cover the duration of the experiment and preferably should begin a few weeks before planting and continue a few weeks after harvest so that “what-if” type analyses may be performed.
Desired soil data includes soil classification (SCS), surface slope, color, permeability, and drainage class. Soil profile data by soil horizons include:
- upper and lower horizon depths (cm),
- percentage sand, silt, and clay content,
- 1/3 bar bulk density,
- organic carbon,
- pH in water,
- aluminum saturation, and
- root abundance information.
Management and Experimental Data
Management data includes information on planting date, dates when soil conditions were measured prior to planting, planting density, row spacing, planting depth, crop variety, irrigation, and fertilizer practices. These data are needed for both model evaluation and strategy analysis.
In addition to site, soil, and weather data, experimental data include crop growth data, soil water and fertility measurements. These are the observed data that are needed for model evaluation.