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

Alfalfa 1.4

Alfalfa 1.4 is a DOS, Windows, or Macintosh based model that simulates growth and development of the alfalfa plant, based on integrative plant physiology and morphology.

The model permits simulation of the diurnal patterns of production processes and growth for studying the influences of temperature, radiation, water deficit, and carbon supply. Beginning with tissue and organ level information, the growth of shoots is simulated for up to five age classes of stems. Perennial, underground structures (crown, taproot, and fibrous roots) are simulated over 10 soil layers. The model includes variations in plant population so that overwintering and stand persistence can be simulated.

Appropriate Use Suited to a wide range of management issues and for coupling to insect and disease models. Several usual adaptation strategies for coping with climate change (changes to cultivars, planting dates) may be tested.
Scope All locations; agricultural sector; site-specific.
Key Output Total above-ground biomass (edible yield).
Key Input Daily weather data from standard meteorological reports.
Ease of Use Relatively easy to use with sufficient background.
Training Required Advanced programming skills (knowledge of FORTRAN language) helpful, agronomic background required
Training Available No formal training currently offered beyond the training manual.
Computer Requirements DOS, Windows, or Macintosh environments. Instructions for downloading given at the website.
Documentation Denison, R.F. and B. Loomis. 1989. An Integrative Physiological Model of Alfalfa Growth and Development. UC ANR Publication 1926, University of California, Davis.

Used by farmers in the U.S.

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

R. Ford Denison

Agronomy and Range Science, University of California, Davis, 95616, USA; Tel: +1.530.752.9688; e-mail:

Cost Program and manual available for US$25. Order form can be accessed at

Denison, F. and B. Loomis. 1989. An Integrative Physiological Model of Alfalfa Growth and Development. UC ANR Publication 1926. University of California, Davis.