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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change


AFRC-Wheat is a FORTRAN-based mechanistic model that incorporates crop response to water and nitrogen constraints. Model processes include phenological development, partitioning of photosynthesis, growth of leaf and stems, senescence, biomass accumulation, and root system dynamics. The model uses a threshold of accumulated growing degree days above a base and below a ceiling temperature to regulate growth.

Appropriate Use Used to investigate the interannual variation in the length of vegetative and floral development and grain filling periods driven by historic climate data. Results of experiments with the AFRC-Wheat model run with climate change can be extrapolated to national-scale crop potential estimations using GIS technology.
Scope All locations; agricultural sector; national or site-specific.
Key Output Yield and yield components.
Key Input Weather data such as daily values of maximum, minimum, dry and wet bulb temperature, solar radiation, sunshine hours, rainfall, wind, etc.
Ease of Use For experts with sufficient background, the model is easy to use.
Training Required Requires basic knowledge of climate, crop agronomy, crop physiology, and soils.
Training Available See web site in Contacts below for details.
Computer Requirements VAX computers (in FORTRAN 77) or IBM PC-compatibles (DOS v3.3 or higher).

AFRC-Wheat has been used in the United Kingdom by several institutions including AFRC and University of Oxford, in Italy by the University of Florence, in France by INRA Avignon, in Hungary by the University of Budapest, in Germany by the University of Bonn, in New Zealand by Crop and Food Research Limited, and in Syria by ICRISAT.

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

Dr. John R.

Porter, Dept. of Agricultural Services, Royal Agricultural and Veterinary University, agrovej 10, 2630 Taastrup, Denmark; Tel:; Fax:; e-mail:

Cost Free for anyone in Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE) Wheat Network.

Addiscott, T.M. and A.P. Whitmore. 1987. Computer simulation of changes in soil mineral nitrogen and crop nitrogen during autumn, winter, and spring. Journal of Agriculture Science 109:141-157.

Addiscott, T.M., P.J. Heys, and A.P. Whitmore. 1986. Application of simple leaching models in heterogeneous soils. Geoderma 38:185-194.

Atkinson, M.D., P.S. Kettlewell, P.D. Hollins, D.B. Stephenson and N.V. Hardwick. 2005. Summer climate mediates UK wheat quality response to winter North Atlantic Oscillation. Agriculture and Forest Meteorology 130(1-2):27-37.

Miglietta, F. and J.R. Porter. 1992. The Effects of Climatic Change on Development in Wheat: Analysis and Modelling. Journal of Experimental Biology 43(8):1147-1157.

Weir, A.H., P.L. Bragg, J.R. Porter, and J.H. Rayner. 1984. A winter wheat model without water or nutrient limitations. Journal of Agricultural Science 102:371-383.