A simulation model of water dynamics in winter wheat field and its application in a semiarid region

Shaozhong Kang, Fucang Zhang, Jianhua ZHANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Many models for water flow in cropped soil contain parameters such as rooting density, root permeability, and root water potential. Usually these parameters are chosen by trial-and-error method and direct measurements are difficult and impractical in some cases. This study presents a simulation model capable of analyzing water transport dynamics in a soil-plant-atmosphere continuum (SPAC). This model is developed by combining an existing mathematical model for soil water flow, a modified transpiration model taking into account of the air pressure and diurnal changes of the extinction coefficient of crop canopies, and a new simple model for root water uptake. Using data from lysimeters in a field experiment carried out on a wheat crop, we also developed two new empirical equations for the estimation of total canopy resistance and soil evaporation. We then applied the model for 2 years (1990-1991, 1991-1992) on winter wheat in a semiarid area of northwest China. Required parameters, particularly soil hydraulic and crop parameters, were determined by field and laboratory tests. Outputs from the simulation were in good agreement with the independent field measurements of seasonal changes in soil water content, canopy transpiration, surface evaporation, and root water uptake along the soil profile. In addition, this simulation agreed well with the actual measurements of seasonal crop water consumption and soil water balance among the treatments for different irrigation amounts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-129
Number of pages15
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2001

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes

User-Defined Keywords

  • Simulation of water flow
  • Soil water transport
  • Transpiration
  • Water uptake
  • Wheat (Triticum aestivum)


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