Tef is an Ethiopian staple grain that provides both food security and income for smallholders. As tef is nutritious and gluten free, it is also gaining popularity as a health food. A tef model was calibrated based on the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer’s (DSSAT) NWheat model and included parameter changes in phenology, photoperiod response, radiation use efficiency, and transpiration efficiency for both standard and elevated atmospheric CO2
, based on published literature for tef and other C4 species. The new DSSAT-Tef model was compared with tef field experiments. DSSAT-Tef accurately simulated phenology and responded to changes in N supply and irrigation, but overestimated growth and occasionally yields. Simulation-observation comparisons resulted in an RMSE of 2.5 days for anthesis, 4.4 days for maturity, 2624 kg/ha (49.6%) for biomass, and 475 kg/ha (41.0%) for grain yield. Less data were available for N uptake, and the model simulated crop N uptake with an RMSE of 45 kg N/ha (46.2%) and 15 kg N/ha (37.3%) for grain N. While more data from contrasting environments are needed for further model testing, DSSAT-Tef can be used to assess the performance of crop management strategies, the suitability of tef for cultivation across growing environments, and food security.
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