The DSSAT Crop Modeling Ecosystem

Traditionally, research for agricultural development and improvement is based on small plot experiments that are conducted for multiple years on a research station and, on occasion, in multiple locations. The outcomes of these experiments are then transmitted in the form of recommendations to farmers through state-wide and county-based extension services. Although this approach works well for the United States and Europe where farms are normally well managed with respect to fertilizer, irrigation inputs, and pests and diseases, in some countries funding and resource challenges make this approach less practical. In the early 1980s, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) made a bold step to support a project that was based on systems analysis of agricultural production to address food security in developing countries.