By Kate Gibson, program coordinator
On April 10, the conference room at the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute was packed with nearly 30 researchers, students and humming laptops. The group gathered to participate in the first ever AquaCrop-OS workshop held in conjunction with the 2017 Water for Food Global Conference and co-hosted by DWFI and Tim Foster, lecturer in water-food security, University of Manchester; United Kingdom.
Workshop participants learned about the development of AquaCrop-OS, a new open-source crop-water simulation model, and familiarized themselves with the model through practical exercises. Foster, a former post-doctoral researcher at DWFI, is lead developer of the AquaCrop-OS model and led the workshop.
“The main goal was to introduce participants to AquaCrop-OS, and help them develop the basic skills needed to apply the model to evaluate crop yield response to water and irrigation water management,” said Foster.
Participants came from a wide variety of backgrounds, with engineers, agricultural economists, agronomists, food scientists, computer scientists and hydrologists in attendance. Taro Mieno, assistant professor in the Agricultural Economics Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, found value in the workshop’s broad focus.
“It was a well-structured introduction to AquaCrop-OS for economists who do not necessarily know much about crop simulation models,” Mieno said.
Reflecting on the inaugural workshop, Foster was pleased with the outcome.
“Feedback from participants was very positive,” Foster said. “We have plans to run more workshops in the coming months, and also to develop new training materials highlighting how AquaCrop-OS can be used to support sustainable agricultural water management at field to catchment scales.”
The AquaCrop-OS model was created by partners at the University of Manchester, DWFI, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Imperial College, London, and released in August of 2016. It has been downloaded over 300 times since its release. The model can be downloaded for free at aquacropos.com.