Short description

By combining the latest technological developments in the field of ICT, hydrological models, crop models and satellites, it is possible to develop a real-time forecasting system for crop production, enabling water boards, farmers and the insurance broker to improve their services and possibly reduce costs.

Therefore, a joint project proposal is made by Achmea (Agro), Deltares and the water boards Aa en Maas and Vechtstromen. 

Aim of the project

-          Setup areal time forecasting crop modelling system that feeds the farmer app with relevant crop production data

-          Calibrate the models and test them for practicality

-          Test the usability of these data for the pilot farmers and the water boards involved

-          Test the usefulness of these data for the determination and tracking of crop damage.

It is proposed to calculate the available soil moisture and crop production on a parcel basis with the coupled MODFLOW-MetaSWAP-WOFOST model during the 2018 growing season. The pilot area will be determined together with Achmea and the water boards. The suggestion is to take the upstream catchment of the Vecht area of Ommen (towards the German border) and a pilot area in the East of Brabant (water boards Aa en Maas).  These areas are preferable because on the one hand there are many clients of Achmea and on the other hand activities carried out by water boards in these areas are carried out within a knowledge program for the high sandy soils (Lumbricus).

The models will be integrated into FEWSforreal-timeforecastofcrop production. the output from FEWS will feed a developed app. Thefarmersapp will be made available to a selection of farmers in the pilot area (15-20).



Setup FEWS-system 

  • Backend System has been setup from FEWS. Coupled model based on iModflow-Metaswap-WOFOST coupling developed in Lumbricus project.

  • Datafeeds for meteo input for models come from KNMI (historical run) and ICON-EU (forecast)
  • With the system results have been generated for 2016, 2017 en 2018 based on KNMI Synops data
  • For Aa and Maas area comparison has been made with measurements for groundwater and soil moisture


  • For each plot the development of the crop can be calculated. Results are exported in netcdf form ftp-portal to a mobile app.

Information needs farmers

  • Effectively applying additional water requires good timing and estimation of the right quantity.
  • Purpose is to avoid waterstress but also (like last season) to cool the surface. Irrigation has impact on salt levels (EC value).
  • Prediction of potential yield and optimal harvest time. After harvest the products are stored and processed (cooling, packaging etc.). It is becoming increasingly important to link harvest and storage conditions to a particular batch of the product. This allows for a good control in the chain from farmer to processor (or consumer). Some parameters have impact on the price (sugar, starch content)
  • Potentially interesting parameters for farmers
    • Water stress in plant
    • Precipitation deficit
    • Soil temperature
    • Growth stage of the crop
    • Radiation (UV)
    • Ground water table
    • Available water in root zone (pF value)
    • Salt level (EC waarde)
    • Groundwater flow (seepage)





Partners/ organisations involved


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