Agronomic data: advances in documentation and protocols for exchange and use uri icon

abstract

  • Data from agronomy experiments are typically collected and stored in a number of minimally documented computer files, with additional information being entered and archived in field books or diaries. Data manipulation is generally cumbersome and error-prone, and data loss is frequent. Modern database technology has the potential to resolve these issues. However, experience gained by an international network of experimenters and crop modellers (the International Benchmark Sites Network for Agrotechnology Transfer; IBSNAT) in using a database for agronomic experiments conducted by many workers at different sites highlighted problems of data entry, quality control, and changing requirements for storage and output variables. In an attempt to minimize these problems, IBSNAT reduced its focus on a central database, but considerably enhanced its effort on the design and use of a set of simple, standard experiment documentation and results files that could be established and edited easily, transferred directly among workers, used as inputs to analytical software and crop models, and read by database and spreadsheet software. The standard files which were developed, and which were used in a software package termed DSSAT V3, have recently been upgraded by a consortium of experimenters and modellers (the International Consortium for Agricultural Systems Applications ICASA), These new files are described briefly here. The ICASA files constitute an advance in the potential for good documentation and storage of agronomic data, but only partly solve the problem of overall data management and use. There is still need for central and local databases that facilitate both the searching of information from different experiments, and the examination of relationships that may be apparent in a large array of data. A number of such databases have been developed for specific applications, and a few of these are briefly touched upon. In particular, recent work with one large database currently being developed by a number of international Agricultural Research Centers, National Research Organizations, and Universities, (the International Crop Information System, [CIS), is briefly described. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2001
  • 2001