Modelling the effect of weather on moisture fluctuations in maize stalk residues, an important inoculum source for plant diseases

Valentina Manstretta, Vittorio Rossi

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

14 Citazioni (Scopus)


Maize residues on the soil surface are a major inoculum source of several fungal pathogens of maize.Because the moisture content of crop residues can greatly affect fungal survival and inoculum production,we studied the effects of rainfall and relative humidity (RH) on the moisture content in maize stalkresidues on bare soil and on soil under a wheat crop at the heading stage (i.e., when the canopy providesthe maximum soil cover). The moisture content of residues that were initially saturated and that werethen placed on soil outdoors declined to a minimum value after approximately 32 h. On each of thefollowing days and in the absence of rain, the moisture content showed a diurnal pattern with decreasingvalues between 08.00 and 18.00 h and increasing values between 18.00 and 08.00 h. The pattern wasthe opposite for vapor pressure deficit. A simple model was developed to predict the wetting–dryingdynamics of maize stalk residues based on environmental conditions. The model has three compartments:(i) wetting of maize stalk residues during rain; (ii) drying after rain; and (iii) diurnal fluctuations in theabsence of rain. The model was calibrated and then validated against independent data collected inItaly and France. Comparison of observed vs. predicted data showed no systematic deviations of modelpredictions from real observations, with R2= 0.84 and standard error of estimates = 8.7%. The correlationconcordance coefficient (=0.89) and model efficiency (=0.75) showed a satisfactory goodness-of-fit to thereal data, with a slight overestimation (coefficient of residual mass = 0.11). The model should be a usefulcomponent of models for those plant pathogens, including Aspergillus flavus, Fusarium verticillioides andGibberella zeae, that produce inoculum in maize residues.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)83-93
Numero di pagine11
RivistaAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015


  • Maize residues
  • Modelling
  • Moisture
  • Rain
  • Vapor pressure deficit
  • Water activity


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