Use of a coupled soil-root-leaf model to optimise phosphate fertiliser use efficiency in barley

J. Heppell, S. PAYVANDI, P. TALBOYS, K. C. Zygalakis, D. Langton, R. Sylvester-Bradley, A. C. Edwards, R. Walker, P. Withers, D. L. Jones, T. Roose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aims: Phosphorus (P) is an essential nutrient necessary for maintaining crop growth, however, it’s often used inefficiently within agroecosystems, driving industry to find new ways to deliver P to crops sustainably. We aim to combine traditional soil and crop measurements with climate-driven mathematical models, to give insight into optimising the timing and placement of fertiliser applications. Methods: The whole plant crop model combines an above-ground leaf model with an existing spatially explicit below-ground root-soil model to estimate plant P uptake and above ground dry mass. We let P-dependent photosynthesis estimate carbon (C) mass, which in conjunction with temperature sets the root-growth-rate. Results: The addition of the leaf model achieved a better estimate of two sets of barley field trial data for plant P uptake, compared with just the root-soil model alone. Furthermore, discrete fertiliser placement increases plant P uptake by up to 10 % in comparison to incorporating fertiliser. Conclusions: By capturing essential plant processes we are able to accurately simulate P and C use and water and P movement during a cropping season. The powerful combination of mechanistic modelling and experimental data allows physiological processes to be quantified accurately and useful agricultural predictions for site specific locations to be made.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-357
Number of pages17
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 14 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Soil Science


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