Agronomy Research Expertise in Montpellier and Languedoc-Roussillon (South of France)

Agronomy : crops and cropping systems

Keywords :

Modelling the functioning of a tropical agrosystem:an application to banana plantations

1. Ensuring top quality, high quantity production

1. Ensuring top quality, high quantity production

Banana/Neonotonia wightii (legume) association- © J.M. Risede Modification of overall agrosystem functioning is required for cropping system (CS) innovation. A system approach to relationships between plants, pests and the environment is needed to understand and describe the functioning of these new systems, which are more complex than systems in which inputs are massively used. This system-based representation of agrosystem functioning is a model that can be customized according to the values of the studied variables. This genuine CS design support tool can also be used to represent CS functioning.

The SIMBA model simulates banana plantation functioning and performance and enables multicriteria assessment of virtual or real CSs. It can be customized according to different variables (climatic and soil data, initial parasitic nematode population levels) and enables simulation of banana growth and yield, pest development dynamics, soil moisture and nitrogen levels and the growth and effects of cover crops and weeds. Moreover, it evaluates the environmental risks of the simulated systems. It accounts for variations in the structure of banana stands during cropping cycles. Inclusion of the parasite component in the model, in interaction with the stand growth and structure, the soil status and nematicide treatments, is crucial for simulating the agroenvironmental performance of modelled banana plantations.

It facilitates studies on certain ecological mechanisms and the development and optimization of new control strategies (crop rotations, cover crop based systems, etc.).

The spatial inter- and intra-plot organization and spatialization of protection resources are key elements for pest control. Because of its moderate dispersion potential, the banana weevil is a good example for studying the effects of different CS spatial organizations on its epidemiology. The COSMOS model simulates the weevil’s movements, reproduction and mortality, in interaction with the banana tree, crop residue, cover plants and pheromone traps. It enables trapping optimization and proposes plantation landscaping arrangements to limit the development of weevil populations.

These new tools should help predict performances in terms of production and the properties of different emerging communities in banana plantations, e.g. their stability and resilience.


Philippe Tixier,

Publication date: 30/05/2010



Update on 19/04/12


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