Cordova, Spain | How to calibrate and validate the AquaCrop model

20/07/2020 - 24/07/2020

The EC project SHui - ‘Soil Hydrology research platform underpinning innovation to manage water scarcity in European and Chinese cropping systems’ has been conceived and formulated to deliverer a suite of technologies and tools to empower individuals and stakeholder organizations for making informed decisions on the management of water scarcity in European and Chinese cropping systems. Among the tools, AquaCrop, the FAO Water Productivity Model, is one of the most suitable crop models for simulating the yield response of crops to water, particularly under conditions in which water is a key limiting factor in crop production.

AquaCrop can be widely applicable under different climate and soil conditions, without the need for local calibration, once it has been properly parameterized for a particular crop species. Nevertheless, there are some parameters that are dependent on location, crop cultivar, and management practices, and must be fitted by the user. Under this framework, the project SHui, in collaboration with FAO, is organizing a workshop focused on the calibration and validation processes of the model.

Objectives of the workshop

  • Delineate the calibration and validation processes for the AquaCrop model and to describe the required datasets.
  • Carry out exercises needed to provide a deep understanding of the calibration/validation processes of AquaCrop by the participants.
  • Support participants in their own calibration/validation efforts by providing adequate guidance throughout the Workshop.

Target audience

The Workshop is intended for SHui project participants, but it would also be accessible to professionals, engineers and researchers that have interest in calibration of the AquaCrop model. A prerequisite is that participants have
prior knowledge/experience on the use of the AquaCrop model.


The goal of this on-line workshop is that participants will be able by the end of the week to calibrate the model
with their own dataset/s. The workshop will be run by University of Cordoba (Spain), using different tools of its
e-learning platform. The first two sessions are devoted to first explain the approach and needs for calibration
and validation and then, to delineate the procedures to be used in the three practical sessions that will follow.
For the practical sessions, the same dataset will be used during the webinar. After the webinar, later that day,
the participants will carry out further work with their own datasets, bringing issues that might come up to be
resolved, either during the Help Desk hour or the following day by the instructor (this may require further one on
one interactions). Two hours a day will be the minimum time required to participants interested in conducting
this Workshop.


Maher Salman, FAO, Land and Water Division (CBL)
Elias Fereres, University of Cordoba
Margarita Garcia-Vila, University of Cordoba


Session 1. Introduction, 20 July, 13:00-14:00 CEST (M. Salman, E. Fereres and M. García Vila)

  • What are the principles and main features of AquaCrop?
  • What is the calculation scheme of the model?
  • Is it necessary to calibrate/validate AquaCrop?

Session 2. Calibration and validation processes, 21 July, 13:00-14:00 CEST (M. García Vila and E. Fereres)

  • What are the datasets needed?
  • What are the general steps in the calibration and validation processes?
  • How are the simulation results assessed?
  • General indications for input files preparation

Session 3. Practical session, 22 July, 13:00-14:00 CEST, plus Open Desk 16:00-17:00 CEST (M. García-Vila and E. Fereres)

  • Adjustment of general parameters

Session 4. Practical session, 23 July, 13:00-14:00 CEST plus Open Desk 16:00-17:00 CEST (M. Garcia-Vila and E. Fereres)

  • Adjustment of parameters for crop response to stresses

Session 5. Practical session, 24 July, 13:00-14:00 CEST (M. Garcia-Vila and E. Fereres)

  • Adjustment of parameters for crop response to stresses (Continuation)
  • General discussion and final remarks.

Hardware and software requirements

Participants must have access to a broadband Internet connection and a personal computer with the last version
of AquaCrop, i.e., v6.1, installed. A headset with microphone will also be required.


Please, apply here. After registration and confirmation, full joining instructions will be provided by the workshop organization.
For more detailed information on the workshop, please contact Margarita Garcia-Vila ([email protected]).