The 'School of de Wit' crop growth simulation models: a pedigree and historical overview.

B.A.M. Bouman, H. van Keulen, H.H. van Laar, R. Rabbinge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

223 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, a pedigree of the crop growth simulation models by the ‘School of de Wit’ is presented. The origins and philosophy of this school are traced from de Wit's classical publication on modelling photosynthesis of leaf canopies in 1965. It is shown how changing research goals and priorities over the years have resulted in the evolution of a pedigree of models that are similar in philosophy but differ in level of complexity, the processes addressed and their functionality. In the beginning, modelling was motivated by the quest for scientific insight and the wish to quantify and integrate biophysical processes to explain the observed variation in crop growth. Later, the emphasis of, and funding for, agricultural research shifted towards putting acquired insights to practical and operational use. Model development became led by a demand for tactical and strategic decision support, yield forecasting, land zonation and explorative scenario studies. Modelling developments for different production situations are illustrated using the models the authors consider most important, i.e. BACROS, SUCROS, WOFOST, MACROS and LINTUL, but reference is also made to other models. Finally, comments are made about the usefulness and applicability of these models after nearly 30 years of development, and some future courses of action are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-198
JournalAgricultural Systems
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The 'School of de Wit' crop growth simulation models: a pedigree and historical overview.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this