PCSE: The Python Crop Simulation Environment

PCSE (Python Crop Simulation Environment) is a Python package for building crop simulation models, in particular the crop models developed in Wageningen (Netherlands). PCSE provides the environment to implement crop simulation models, the tools for reading ancillary data (weather, soil, agromanagement) and the components for simulating biophysical processes such as phenology, respiration and evapotranspiration. PCSE also includes implementations of the WOFOST LINGRA and LINTUL3 crop and grassland simulation models which have been widely used around the world. For example, WOFOST has been implemented in the MARS crop yield forecasting system which is used operationally for crop monitoring and yield prediction in Europe and beyond.

Originally, models developed in Wageningen were often written using FORTRAN or the FORTRAN Simulation Environment (FSE). Both are very good tools, but they have become somewhat outdated and are difficult to integrate with many of the great tools that are available nowadays (XML, databases, web, etc). Like so many other software packages, PCSE was developed to facilitate my own research work. I wanted something that was more easy to work with, more interactive and more flexible while still implementing the sound computational approach of FSE. For this reason PCSE was developed in Python hsa become an important programming language for scientific purposes.

Traditionally, crop simulation models in Wageningen have been provided including the full source code. PCSE is no exception and its source code is open and licensed under the European Union Public License. PCSE runs on Python 2.7+ and 3.2+ and has a decent test coverage of the implementation of the biophysical processes.

Crop models Available in PCSE

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