University of Florida

ABE 6645c & AGR6932
Computer Simulation of Crop Growth and Management Responses

Semester Taught - Summer C

Catalog Description

Credits: 3

This course will teach the scientific background of comprehensive computer models for the dynamic simulation of crop growth, development, and yield, and soil and plant water, nutrient, and carbon dynamics, and the application of crop models to real-world problems. It will be based on a systems analysis approach.


It is recommended that students have a basic understanding of crop and soil science.

Course Objectives

Those successfully completing this course will be able to:

  1. Understand the complex interactions of the soil-plant-atmosphere-continuum
  2. Define the basic components of dynamic crop simulation models
  3. Determine the impact of weather conditions on crop growth, development and yield, using a modeling approach
  4. Evaluate management options for a cropping system using a modeling approach
  5. Assess economic risks and environmental impacts associated with agricultural production
  6. Value and asses the data requirements for crop model and decision support system application and implementation
  7. Apply the model in a real-world situation, evaluate modeling results, and communicate the outcomes to a diverse audience
  8. Demonstrate critical thinking and analysis skills associated with the application of simulation models and decision support systems


Dr. Gerrit Hoogenboom
Phone: (352) 392-1864
Office: Rogers Hall 184

Training Location and Class Materials Required

The first part of this course includes a 6-day intensive international training program that is facilitated by Dr. Gerrit Hoogenboom and that will be held at the University of Georgia Griffin Campus in May. The remainder of the course will consist of a special project using DSSAT and informal discussion sessions via Skype, if required.

The textbook and software will be provided as part of the workshop fee. The software can be requested prior to the workshop at

Recommended reading:

  • Tsuji, G.Y., G. Hoogenboom, and P.K. Thornton. 1998. Understanding Options for Agricultural Production. Kluwer Academic Publishers/Springer (ISBN 978-94-017-3624-4). This book will be provided as part of the workshop fee.

Material and Supply Fees:

$500 for participation in the DSSAT 2017 International Training Program. The fee covers a textbook and software.

Course Outline

Check syllabus for dates/deadlines

Dates specific to each calendar year. All day meetings, attend DSSAT workshop lectures and hands-on training sessions, begin homework assignments
  Deadline for 1-page special project proposal
  First 6 homework exercises are due
  Meet to discuss first homework exercises and discuss special project proposal
  Remainder of homework exercises due
  Meet to discuss remainder of homework exercises, review for exam
  Final exam
  Special project presentations
  Final submission of special project reports

The total number of contact hours is 50, based on 40+ hours during the workshop and 10 hours for class discussions, final exam, and presentation of final project or case study.

Attendance and Expectations

Students are expected to participate in the DSSAT 2017 International Training Program at the University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia held May 15-20, 2017, consisting of lectures and exercises. The lecture files will be placed on a website for download prior to each lecture. In addition to the lectures and discussions with instructors, students are required to complete homework exercises and submit them for grading.  The 10 exercises will be submitted within two weeks after the end of the DSSAT course, and they will count 50% of the final grade.  The exercises should be written up in a typed report style that somewhat mimics a paper, to include what you did for the exercise (the “methods”), the results/outcome (either tables or “cut-and-paste” graphics examples) that answer the questions posed in the exercise, and interpretation by you.

We will administer a two-hour exam in July, based on the material covered in the lectures, discussions, and selected chapters in the text book. The exam will count 25% of the final grade.  
Each student will select a topic for a course project and develop or use a model for analyzing a particular system. This project will count 25% of the grade.  In the first class meeting during the last week of May, you will present plans for the project in a 1-page outline and obtain feedback from the instructor.  Students will present their special projects on an agreed-upon date during July (using Skype if necessary for distant students), with the final written report due in late July one week after the presentation.

Example of what your written paper should look like, regardless of topic:
The paper should have 8-10 pages of text (double-spaced).  This page number recommendation is in addition to what will probably be many pages used for appropriate visuals (figures, tables, etc.) to document what you did for the crop modeling exercise.  Structure the paper like a scientific paper, including the introduction/problem/objectives, methods and materials, results and discussion, and references.  The instructor will be available and pleased to give feedback on topics, progress in the project, and in the approach for writing the project paper.

      Any work that is submitted should be the product of the student. Any assignments that are not the individual student’s work will be given a 0 grade and with further disciplinary action per UF policy.

The preferred methods for private communication regarding the course is via email or a scheduled meeting with the instructor. The preferred public communication regarding the course is in scheduled sessions, including the workshop.


Special Project


Final Exam

Grading Scale: A = 95-100%, A- = 90-94%, B+ = 87-89, B = 83-86, B- = 80-82, C+ = 77-79%, C = 73-76, C- = 70-72, D+ = 67-69, D = 63-66, D- = 60-62%, E < 60%

Online Course Evaluation Process

Student assessment of instruction is an important part of efforts to improve teaching and learning. At the end of the semester, students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course using a standard set of university and college criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at Evaluations are typically open for students to complete during the last two or three weeks of the semester; students will be notified of the specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at

Academic Honesty

As a student at the University of Florida, you have committed yourself to uphold the Honor Code, which includes the following pledge: “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.”  You are expected to exhibit behavior consistent with this commitment to the UF academic community, and on all work submitted for credit at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment." 
It is assumed that you will complete all work independently in each course unless the instructor provides explicit permission for you to collaborate on course tasks (e.g. assignments, papers, quizzes, exams). Furthermore, as part of your obligation to uphold the Honor Code, you should report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. It is your individual responsibility to know and comply with all university policies and procedures regarding academic integrity and the Student Honor Code.  Violations of the Honor Code at the University of Florida will not be tolerated. Violations will be reported to the Dean of Students Office for consideration of disciplinary action. For more information regarding the Student Honor Code, please see:  

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The Disability Resource Center coordinates the needed accommodations of students with disabilities. This includes registering disabilities, recommending academic accommodations within the classroom, accessing special adaptive computer equipment, providing interpretation services and mediating faculty-student disability related issues.

0001 Reid Hall, 352-392-8565,  

Software Use

All faculty, staff and student of the University are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use.  Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator.  Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate.  We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to uphold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

UF Counseling Services

Resources are available on-campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career and academic goals.  The resources include:
      - University Counseling Center, 301 Peabody Hall, 392-1575, Personal and Career Counseling.
      - SHCC mental Health, Student Health Care Center, 392-1171, Personal and Counseling.
      - Center for Sexual Assault/Abuse Recovery and Education (CARE), Student Health Care Center, 392-1161, sexual assault counseling.
      - Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 392-1601, career development assistance and counseling.

Your well-being is important to the University of Florida. 

The U Matter, We Care initiative is committed to creating a culture of care on our campus by encouraging members of our community to look out for one another and to reach out for help if a member of our community is in need.  If you or a friend is in distress, please contact so that the U Matter, We Care Team can reach out to the student in distress.  A nighttime and weekend crisis counselor is available by phone at 352-392-1575.  The U Matter, We Care Team can help connect students to the many other helping resources available including, but not limited to, Victim Advocates, Housing staff, and the Counseling and Wellness Center.  Please remember that asking for help is a sign of strength.  In case of emergency, call 9-1-1.

      Counseling and Wellness Center:, 392-1575; and the University Police Department: 392-1111 or 9-1-1 for emergencies. Sexual Assault Recovery Services (SARS) Student Health Care Center, 392-1161. 

      University Police Department, 392-1111 (or 9-1-1 for emergencies). 

      Academic Resources E-learning technical support, 352-392-4357 (select option 2) or e-mail to 
Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 392-1601. Career assistance and counseling. 

      Library Support, Various ways to receive assistance with respect to using the libraries or finding resources.

Teaching Center, Broward Hall, 392-2010 or 392-6420. General study skills and tutoring. 

      Writing Studio, 302 Tigert Hall, 846-1138. Help brainstorming, formatting, and writing papers.  

Student Complaints Campus: On-Line Students

Information on filing a complaint about this course can be found at: