Date of this Version
Smart Agricultural Technology 5 (2023) 100281, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atech.2023.100281
Crop models are valuable tools for examining the interactions of cultivar characteristics, environment, and management practices, and how they affect crop growth and development. The difficulty in finding all the data needed to set up a simulation can often deter potential users from utilizing a crop model. Model interfaces are necessary to make these complex tools accessible to end-users who may lack the expertise needed to work with the models directly, but who would benefit from the information generated by the models. As crop models vary in terms of input and output structures, there is no one universally compatible interface, so different crop model suites require their own interface. CLASSIM is a graphical user interface (GUI) for a suite of models developed by USDA-ARS. The interface provides a simplified tool to assemble input data for a model simulation. Web access to online databases for soil and weather data simplifies finding site-related data. The user is guided step by step to build the necessary input files. A database structure facilitates data entry, storage, and retrieval. The use of Structured Query Language (SQL) for data retrieval allows for advanced analysis and visualization outside of the interface. We describe the features of the GUI and provide examples of various operations. Model outputs are provided in tables and graphs to allow for visualization and analysis. Two-dimensional contour plots of soil processes are provided to visualize output from the two-dimensional finite element soil model. CLASSIM also allows users to set up single- and multiple-season runs for maize, cotton, soybean, potato, and fallow treatments, and is expected to be expanded to more crops in the future. A user-friendly GUI is essential for making simulation tools accessible to the broad range of researchers and practitioners working to solve the agricultural system challenges.