Impact analysis of drought and salinity on grassland production in the Netherlands using historical and future climate data

J.G. Kroes, I. Supit

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29 Citations (Scopus)


The coupled SWAP–WOFOST model was used to study the effects of increasing salinity of groundwater, drought and water excess on grass production in The Netherlands. WOFOST simulates crop growth and SWAP simulates transport of water, solutes and heat in the vadose zone. The model was tested using several datasets from field experiments. We applied the models at regional scale where we quantified the impact of various groundwater salinity levels on grass growth and production using historical weather data (1971–2000). The salt concentrations in the subsoil were derived from the National Hydrological Instrument. The results show that salinity effects on grass production are limited. In wet years the excess rainfall will infiltrate the soil and reduce salt water seepage. In a next step we used future weather data for the year 2050, derived from 3 Global Circulation Models. From each model we used data from two CO2emission scenarios. As expected higher temperatures increased drought stress, however, the production reduction as a result of salt water in the root zone is limited. Salt stress mainly occurred when irrigation was applied with saline water. The increased CO2concentration in combination with the limited drought stress resulted in increasing simulated actual and potential yields. Overall conclusion for grassland in The Netherlands: drought stress is stronger than stress caused by water excess which on its turn is stronger than salinity stress. Future water demand for irrigation may increase by 11–19% and result in water scarcity if water supply is insufficient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-381
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • atmospheric co2
  • carbon-dioxide
  • elevated co2
  • dry-matter
  • root water
  • crop
  • yield
  • model
  • simulation
  • temperature


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