Generalized Linear Dynamics of a Plant-Parasitic Nematode Population and the Economic Evaluation of Crop Rotations


  • W. Van Den Berg
  • W. A. H. Rossing


crop rotation, economic evaluation, gross margin, pratylenchus penetrans, sensitivity analysis, stability, steady state, yield loss assessment


In 1-year experiments, the final population density of nematodes is usually modeled as a function of initial density. Often, estimation of the parameters is precarious because nematode measurements, although laborious and expensive, are imprecise and the range in initial densities may be small. The estimation procedure can be improved by using orthogonal regression with a parameter for initial density on each experimental unit. In multi-year experiments parameters of a dynamic model can be estimated with optimization techniques like simulated annealing or Bayesian methods such as Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC). With these algorithms information from different experiments can be combined. In multi-year dynamic models, the stability of the steady states is an important issue. With chaotic dynamics, prediction of densities and associated economic loss will be possible only on a short timescale. In this study, a generic model was developed that describes population dynamics in crop rotations. Mathematical analysis showed stable steady states do exist for this dynamic model. Using the Metropolis algorithm, the model was fitted to data from a multi-year experiment on Pratylenchus penetrans dynamics with treatments that varied between years. For three crops, parameters for a yield loss assessment model were available and gross margin of the six possible rotations comprising these three crops and a fallow year were compared at the steady state of nematode density. Sensitivity of mean gross margin to changes in the parameter estimates was investigated. We discuss the general applicability of the dynamic rotation model and the opportunities arising from combination of the model with Bayesian calibration techniques for more efficient utilization and collection of data relevant for economic evaluation of crop rotations.