International Benchmark Sites Network for Agrotechnology Transfer – IBSNAT

DSSAT was initiated under the auspices of the International Benchmark Sites Network for Agrotechnology Transfer Project (IBSNAT) that was funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1 September 1981 through 31 August 1993. The IBSNAT Project was headquartered at the University of Hawaii with Goro Uehara, University of Hawaii, and Fred Beinroth, University of Puerto Rico, as principal investigators. The overall goal of the IBSNAT Project was to enable clients and stakeholders in the agricultural community to apply relevant knowledge to assess both the benefits and risks of adopting new and untried practices and policies and, therefore, to enable better choices for them and society. The major accomplishments of the IBSNAT Project included a functional, computer product call DSSAT for Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer that incorporates available process-based knowledge in models and databases and the establishment of a global network of systems developers and crop model users. Another major accomplishment was the concept of a Minimum Data Set (MDS) for crop modeling, decision support, and data analytics. The development team included crop modelers from the University of Florida, University of Guelph, University of Puerto Rico, Michigan State University, the International Fertilizer Development Center, USDA-ARS, and the University of Edinburgh.


International Consortium for Agricultural Systems Applications – ICASA

Towards the end of the IBSNAT Project a consortium between the IBSNAT modeling team and the modelers from the “School of De Wit” at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, was developed. The International Consortium for Agricultural Systems Applications (ICASA) was headquartered at the former IBSNAT Office at the University of Hawaii. The main goal of ICASA was to foster collaboration among crop modelers, especially for activities in developing countries. Following the official initiation in 1993, ICASA was expanded later by inviting modelers from other groups, such as APSIM in Australia and InfoCrop in India, and others. Unfortunately, progress within the ICASA Consortium was slow and ICASA was officially dissolved on November 6, 2014.


DSSAT Foundation

After termination of the IBSNAT Project development, advancement of DSSAT and its associate crop models has continued because of the significant interest of the scientific community and public and private partners in crop modeling. As a result, the DSSAT Foundation was formed and officially incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Washington, USA, in 2012. The DSSAT Foundation was officially incorporated in the State of Florida in 2018 and dissolved in the State of Washington in 2019. The DSSAT Foundation is recognized as a 509(a)(2) public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the US International Revenue Code.


Current Development

University of Florida – UF

The University of Florida (UF) is responsible for the overall coordination of DSSAT and maintains most of the DSSAT tools, including the DSSAT Shell, SBuild, XBuild, GBuild, SensAnalysis, Sustain, Varan, ATCreate, WeatherMan. UF is also responsible for all the crop associated with the CROPGRO and the CROPGRO-Perennial Forage Model.

International Fertilizer Development Center – IFDC

IFDC’s contribution to the development and updating of DSSAT related to crop models for wheat, maize, rice and taro, and nutrient dynamics models for N (dryland, flooded) and P. Current focus is on improving soil C and nitrous oxide modules.


DSSAT Timeline

  • September, 1982. IBSNAT Project Initiated
  • March, 1983. International Symposium on Minimum Data Sets (MDS) for Agrotechnology Transfer held at ICRISAT, Patancheru, India
  • December 1984 First IBSNAT Crop Modeling Training Workshop held in Caracas, Venezuela
  • 1989. First DSSAT Version 2.1 released
  • August, 1993. IBSNAT Project Terminated
  • 1994. DSSAT Version 3.0 released
  • May, 1998. DSSAT Version 3.5 released
  • November, 2011. DSSAT Version 4.5 released
  • March, 2012. DSSAT Foundation incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Washington
  • January, 2014. DSSAT Foundation qualified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as a 509(a)(2) Public Charity
  • March, 2014. DSSAT Version 4.6 released
  • November, 2014. ICASA dissolved
  • August, 2017. DSSAT Version 4.7 released
  • February, 2018. DSSAT Foundation incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Florida
  • April, 2019. DSSAT Version 4.7.5 released
  • July, 2019. DSSAT Foundation officially dissolved in the State of Washington
  • December, 2019. DSSAT Cropping System Model (CSM) code was released via GitHub as fully open source
  • May, 2021. DSSAT Version 4.8.0 released
  • August, 2023. DSSAT Version 4.8.2 released

Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project – AgMIP

The DSSAT and the DSSAT Team has played a key role in the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP). The original concept of AgMIP was a partial outcome of the ICASA Consortium, but more focused on crop model applications for climate change impact assessment and adaptation similar to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) of the climate modelers.