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Year of publication:

Prof. Søren Hansen, Program. Per Abrahamsen, Prof. Carsten T. Petersen, Prof. Merete Styczen

Department of Basic Sciences and Environment, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark





Daisy is a mechanistic simulation model of the physical and biological processes in an agricultural field. It traces the fate of water, energy, carbon, nitrogen, and pesticides, both above and below ground. The model is able to predict production, environmental impact in the form of leaching, and change in soil (carbon) quality over time. Another common use is as an upper boundary for a groundwater model.

The input to Daisy is through text files of daily or hourly weather data (at least precipitation, global radiation, and temperature, much more can be used if available), management information (sow/harvest, tillage operations, as well as data and amounts of irrigation, fertilizer and pesticide applications), and finally soil quality (texture, humus content). The timescale go from hourly fluxes to changes in soil carbon pools over centuries.

Output is also text files, with the exception of simple progress messages during the simulation. The code can be accesses from a command line utility, a simple GUI (Qt based), or from another program through C, C++, C# or OpenMI interfaces.

The default one dimensional Daisy transport model assumes homogeneous fields, with no significant horizontal transport. An optional two dimensional transport model exists is included, and has been used for simulating row crops and drain pipes. To model larger areas, Daisy should be coupled with a GIS system.

Daisy is developed by members of the Agrohydrology research group at the Section for Environmental Chemistry and Physics at the Department for Plant and Environmental Sciences at the Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen. The primary responsible scientist is Søren Hansen.


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Scientific articles

Hansen S., Abrahamsen P., Petersen C.T., Styczen M., 2012. Daisy: Model Use, Calibration and Validation. Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers 55(4): 1315-1333.

Abrahamsen P., Hansen, S., 2000. Daisy: an open soil-crop-atmosphere system model. Environmental Modelling & Software, 15(3): 313-330.

Bruun S., Christensen B.T., Hansen E.M., Magid J., Jensen L.S., 2003. Calibration and validation of the soil organic matter dynamics of the Daisy model with data from the Askov long-term experiments. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 35:67-76.

Manevski K., Børgesen C.D., Andersen M.N., Kristensen I.S., 2014. Reduced nitrogen leaching by intercropping maize with red fescue on sandy soils in North Europe: a combined field and modeling study. Plant and Soil 388(1): 67-85.

Djurhuus J., Hansen S., Schelde K., Jacobsen O.H., 1999. Modelling mean nitrate leaching from spatially variable fields using effective hydraulic parameters. Geoderma 87: 261-279. Soil Use and Management 15(3): 167-175.

Boegh E., Thorsen M., Butts M.B., Hansen S., Christiansen J.S., Abrahamsen P., Hasager C.B., Jensen N.O., van der Keur P., Refsgaard J.C., Schelde K., Soegaard H., Thomsen A., 2004. Incorporating remote sensing data in physically based distributed agro-hydrological modelling. Journal of Hydrology 287(1-4): 279-299.

Mollerup M., Abrahamsen P., Petersen C.T., Hansen S., 2013. Comparison of simulated water, nitrate, and bromide transport using a Hooghoudt-based and dynamic drainage model. Water Resources Research 50(2): 1080-1094.


Technical information

Operating system(s): Windows NT/2000/XP, Mac OS

Licence: freely available

Output(s): the model is capable of tracking the state of 720 (as of version 5.00) different internal variables, some with multiple values, of which only a small subset is of interest to the typical user. It is therefore possible to specify the exact subset to output, or to use one of the predefined subsets distributed with the software.

Export format(s): text files with tab separated columns suitable for viewing by spreadsheets and other standard data presentation programs.

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