FACCE MACSUR Joint Workshops 2015 (2015-10-27 to 2015-10-30)


The workshops took place in Braunschweig and gathered 105 participants. The workshops provided an opportunity to exchange information and to align plans across the various groups. Below is a condensed summary of session results. For more details please refer to FACCE MACSUR Reports 7:H0.3-M1 and see the schedule.

XC1 – Model comparison and improvement

Activities were integrated in Session XC6.

(persons to contact: Marco Bindi, Gianni Bellocchi)

Session XC6 – Regional case studies

 [No report provided]

(person to contact: Pier Paolo Roggero)

Session XC7 – Impact assessment for Europe

The workshop aims were to 1. Inform each other about the different tasks and perhaps challenges therein. Additional aspects to be considered were the consistency of scenarios across TradeM, CropM and LiveM and the timing of the tasks. 2. Discuss data exchange issues in terms of (1) agreeing on a draft protocol for data exchange between crop, grassland and economic models and (2) clarifying data needs of the regional case study models involved in XC7 (task XC7.5) and the non-modelling assessment (task XC7.6).

Main results: • Discussions revealed an inconsistency in the preferred scenarios by crop and economic modelers. This will be clarified as soon as possible. • Crop and grassland modelers will be able to provide yield changes based on consistent climate scenarios and models and at a resolution suitable for the economic model CAPRI. A common protocol will be used for data exchange. • XC7.5 will compare the baseline assumptions of CAPRI and the regional case studies based on information provided by XC7.1. Results will be compared based on CAPRI result tables compiled by TradeM. • XC7.6 will set up an indicator framework for assessing ecosystem services. The indicator framework will be filled with modeling results at different regional scales.

(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Session XC8 – Extreme climatic events

The aim of this cross cutting activity was to develop a better understanding of the impacts of extreme events on food security in Europe.

Our group discussion highlighted that collectively we felt unclear about what food security actually means in a European context. To understand the impact of extreme events, we must first be able to identify when an extreme event in the European food system has occurred. We decided not to focus on quantifying the effect of extreme events on crop production, as this research is still at a very early stage, and there are many possible extreme events to consider.

It was decided that a useful output would be to establish various indicators of food (in)security in Europe. The aim of this work is to develop some simple metrics or indicators, that an extreme event has occurred in the food system. These may then be used to translate outputs from crop- and economic- models (e.g. changes in production, price increases...) to more tangible food security issues in Europe (e.g. use of food banks, farm closures, increased government spending to compensate farmers...).

We identified that many Europeans are unlikely to become food insecure as a result of extreme climatic events. However, some groups, at a range of scales, could be very vulnerable. We hope to explore these, and other, indicators of food (in)security in Europe.

Governments can be vulnerable: Indicators could include level of government spending to compensate farmers following poor harvests, changes in trade balances, changes in exchange rates.

Consumers across the region can be vulnerable if they spend a high portion of their income on food: Indicators could include the use of food banks.

Some vulnerable communities exist (for example, Welsh hill farmers, smallholders): Indicators could include farm closures.

For more information contact Jacob Bishop, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Session XC11 – Animal feed story

 [No report provided]

(Barbara Amon)

Session XC14 – Impact on ecosystem services and rural development

Activities were integrated in Session XC6. 

 [No report provided]

(Katharina Helming)

Session XC16 – Overall Scenario Development

In this workshop the state of the art of Representative Agricultural Pathways (RAPs) and relevant characteristics from the perspectives of different communities were presented.

We discussed how Europe specific RAPs can be extended and further specified based on: 1. global SSPs, 2. EU-SSPs 3 (developed e.g. in the FP7-project IMPRESSIONS), global, regional RAPs developed in AgMIP.

We identified and specified the different indicators needed to develop EU RAPs. For example some goals of the CAP, which are important EU-RAP indicators:
• Income in the farming sector • Rural development • Consumer prices (Market stability, food supply) • Environmental sustainability (Water, GHG, Soil?) • Productivity in agriculture (Competitiveness)

We developed a rough outline of EU-RAPs:
• EU-RAP1: strong CAP, strong shift on environmental regulation, no producer support, green CAP with strong mititgation component
• EU-RAP3: Europe breaks up, rich countries support farmers with national subsidies, poor countries do not
• EU-RAP4: Europe is divided in a poor and a rich part. In the rich part green CAP, in the poor part no CAP
• EU-RAP5: free market world, strong institutions, weak on enviromental regulations, low domestic polices? Local green CAP without mitigation

We presented a rough outline of EU-RAPs as well as how the European economic model CAPRI could support the implementation of EU RAPs to the session of the regional pilot studies developed in the XC6 (regional case studies)

(Anne Biewald, Franz Sinabell)

Session C1.1 – Model response to variable site conditions on crop production and ecosystem services

The topic of the task session was the introduction to a crop model exercise to evaluate model responses to variable site conditions regarding crop production and ecosystem services. Three data sets were identified to be used by an ensemble of models to test their sensitivity on variable site conditions regarding crop yield, water and nitrogen contents in soil. Data preparation will be finished by January 15th, the exercise will be run by the participating modelers in 3 steps during 2016 and two papers are planned to be drafted by end of 2016/beginning of 2017.

(Christian Kersebaum)

Session C1.3 – Long term effects of management and cropping systems on crop production and ecosystem services

The topic of the task session was to evaluate and compare the long term behavior of crop models with a special focus on soil organic matter dynamics. Models will be compared using data of long term experiments against measured variables. Data sets were presented by P.P. Roggero (IT), D. Ventrella (IT), K. C. Kersebaum (DE). J.E. Olesen also suggested to use data sets from a related project. To look at long term behavior of models under climate change scenarios including adaptation options an extension of the ongoing crop rotation and organic matter management study in Czech Republic was envisaged for sites across Europe running models over a period of 120 years using transient climate scenarios.

(Jørgen Olesen)

Session C1.5 – Incorporation of diseases and pests in crop models

 1.1. Definition of steps (milestones) of activities under C1.5

The following steps were derived from the description of the task:

  1.  Identify relevant pests and diseases for major crops in Europe
  2.  Identify what models exist for these pests and diseases
  3.  Existing data on crop health from variety trials (what is available in terms of field data)
  4. Development of models
    1. Address occurrence of pests and diseases
    2. Models for the impact of pests and diseases
  5. Regional Applications of case studies

1.2. Countries represented in Task C1.5

The break-down of participants/counties by milestones is as follows.

Milestones Italy Norway UK France Sweden Poland Germany Denmark
1. Identify pests and diseases X X X X X x X X
2. Available models X     X X? X ?  
3. Available Data X X   X? X X? X X
4. Development of Models X     X X X X  
5. Regional Application             X  

1.3. Definition on main crops to address in C1.5

Existing crop models in MACSUR: Wheat (many models), barley, maize, among others; possibly starting grapevine (VITE model, STICS, Nvino); MACSUR might model potato growth (CROPSYST, STICS, HERMES), but not a focus. Based on (1) the importance of crops in Europe, (2) existing P&D research and expertise available among participants of C1.5, and (3) existing models in MACSUR, the selectd target crops in C1.5 are: Wheat, Potato, Grapevine. Additional possible crops in C1.5: Maize, Sugarbeet

1.4 (Multiple) Pathosystems to be considered in C1.5

Wheat pathosystem:

  Yield loss Quality losses Impact of current control Emerging
P. striiformis X      
P. graminis       X
Powdery mildew X      
P. triticina X      
Septoria’ blotches X      
Fusarium head blight   X    
Tan spot X      
Soil-Borne Viruses        
Wheat dwarf virus       X
BYDV       X

Potato pathosystem:

  Yield loss Quality losses Impact of current control Emerging
P. infestans X x X  
Rhizoctonia   X    
Nematodes X      
Virus X      
Early blight X      
Ralstonia       X
Colorado potato beetle X      
Erwinia X X    

Grapevine pathosystem:

  Yield loss Quality losses Impact of current control Emerging
Powdery mildew X X x  
Downy mildew X   X  
Botrytis X X (x)  
Berry moth X X    
Black rot X     X
Japanese beetle       X

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Session C3 – Methods of scaling and model linking

[No report provided]

(person to contact: Frank Ewert)

Session C4 – Uncertainty and risk analysis

[No report provided]

(person to contact: Reimund Rötter)

Session L1.3 – Bringing together grassland and farm-scale modelling

 [No report provided]

(person to contact: Mats Högbom)

Session L1.4 – Reusing and linking models in livestock farming

The task L1.4 deals with modelling the interactions between farm components (livestock, grassland, animal housing, manure storage, farm management). The argument for this task is as follows. Within agriculture, there has been a long history of model building. This has left a legacy of models, most of which have functionality beyond the initial purpose for their development. Nevertheless, many models are not reused, representing an inefficient use of the considerable resources required to develop new models. Models can be reused by linking existing models but this presents both scientific/conceptual and technical challenges. The former arise because different models may vary in their concepts of the same components. In technical terms, model documentation may be inadequate, models may be implemented in different programming languages/environments or there may be legal or property rights barriers. Past attempts to link models within agriculture have been either via bespoke or generic linkage systems. The former have the advantage that they can be closely tailored to a given objective, but involve a considerable cost. Generic linkage systems provide a framework that can potentially reduce the investment necessary to link models. However, using such linkage systems incurs a cost in terms of the time necessary to learn how to use them and may constrain the functionality that can be achieved. 

The conceptual issues that might hinder the reuse of models are:
• Existing models neglect/under-represent important processes — Ruminant livestock systems vary widely (e.g. extensive beef, intensive dairy) and existing models were developed for a different system
• Lack of scientific agreement about processes — Especially the detail with which to represent them
• Cultural differences — e.g. different feed energy accounting systems. The objective of the session was to agree the key functions of farm components, the exchanges of information between them and the frequency with which this should occur.

(Nick Hutchings)

Session LiveM 2.3 – Adaptation in livestock production

The purpose of the workshop was to explore the state of the current thinking and modelling of adaptation to climate change with respect to livestock production. This included modelling the biophysical system, and the effects on the economics of the farming system.

Presentations were invited to explore the current state. Some key points from the discussion are:

  • We need to remember that models may not include some relationships that will become important under climate change (perhaps not yet recognised)
  • The length and severity of extreme events may limit available management choices, and this is hard to model (e.g. a model may usually apply irrigation in a drought, but previous droughts, or a long drought may mean that irrigation water is not available)
  • Farm models can be divided into management-centred economic models, or biophysical models with a limited representation of management (skills/knowledge limitations and complexity of dealing with both domains).
  • The workshop explored the key adaptations that are deemed to be of relevance to farming systems, and the technical issues, gaps, how to make the outputs from models more accessible, which were ranked in terms of complexity.

(Kairsty Topp)

Session TradeM

 [No report provided]

(Floor Brouwer)