3- Days Hands on Training Workshop on APSIM: Decision Support Tool for Agricultural Systems Modeling and Simulation

Jointly Organized by Department of Agronomy and Research Endowment Fund (REF) Program, Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC), PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi

Three days (May 25-27, 2022) "Hands on Training Workshop on APSIM (Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator): Decision Support Tool for Agricultural Systems Modeling and Simulation" was held at PMAS-AAUR. The workshop was organised by Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Assistant Professor, Department of Agronomy, PMAS- AAUR, funded by Research Endowment Fund (REF) Program of Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC), PMAS-AAUR. The objective of the workshop was to train the participants on the application of APSIM as decision support tool under changing climate as well to demonstrate how dynamic models can be used as functions under different cropping systems. Participants from different parts of the country participated in the workshop while it was also attended by the international researchers from USA, UAE, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand through zoom. Chairman, Department of Agronomy, Prof. Dr. M. Ansar welcome all the participants and stated the importance of workshop.

Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman was the chief guest in the inaugural session of the workshop. He highlighted the need for the use of models as decision support tool as they can help to design adaptation and mitigation strategies under changing climate. Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of precision agriculture as he is working in this field since last three decades. Afterwards, Dr Aslam from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research highlighted how model can help to understand crop bio-dynamism, climate, and crop management simultaneously to explore the crop potential yield. Mr. Hassan Abadi from Fatima fertilizer informed participants how they are using different digital tools to uplift farming community. Mr. Abadi emphasized that tools are only beneficial for the farming community if they are cheap and simple in use. Furthermore, on day one participants was guided, how to download APSIM and how to create APSIM met and soil file as well as application of SPAW. In the afternoon participants were taken to the precision agriculture laboratory.

On the day 2 of the workshop Prof. Dr. Shakeel Ahmad from Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan guided participants about importance of model calibration and evaluation. Similarly, Dr. Nazia Tahir from Abdul Wali khan University, Mardan have shown the application of APSIM in the simulation of N-dynamics. Since quality data is very important in the model calibration thus, Dr. M. Hassan Ali Baig from IGIS, PMAS-AAUR guided audience how they can use remote sensing and GIS to collect quality data. Afterwards, participants remained busy in the completion of simulation exercise that includes simulation of fallow water balance, effect of residue cover on soil water dynamics during fallow and N cycling.

On the final day of workshop Dr. M. Naeem Aslam Malghani from CABI narrated the importance of decision support tools. He guided participants about PRA and horizon scanning tools which they are using in the pest risk assessments. Afterwards, in the closing ceremony, Director ORIC, Prof. Dr. Khalid Saifullah Khan congratulated participants and organisers for the successful completion of the training workshop. Furthermore, he stated that ORIC has taken this initiative of hands on trainings under the leadership of worthy vice chancellor as his motto is more practical knowledge and less theoretical. Finally, Dean FC&FS, Prof. Dr. Fayyaz-ul-Hassan have given concluding remarks and suggested that if model can guide to the farmers in advance, then they can be able to improve production by taking measures in advance. Similarly, he stated that recent heat waves if predicted in advance through modeling tools ultimately could help to guide farmers to select early maturing varieties or take other adaptation measures. At the end Director ORIC and Dean FC&FS distributed the shields and certificates among the presenter, organisers, and participants.