Skip to main content

Simulation of seed germination and seedling emergence


Our seedling emergence simulation model developed through funding from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) can be downloaded from this site (see below):


Simulation model output:


From this screen on the simulation you can choose to sow on any day in the last 40 years, you choose sowing depth and whether to irrigate etc. and the simulation will provide:

  • a continuous output from sowing to emergence that indicates changing seedbed temperature and moisture profiles (A)
  • a visual indication of the progress of germination and seedling growth to emergence (B)
  • daily rainfall and evaporation (C)
  • a prediction of cumulative germination and seedling emergence (D)

The simulation uses a soil model to estimate temperature and water potential profiles and soil strength in the seedbed from standard meteorological data. These values are used to drive population based threshold models for both germination (Hydrothermal time and Virtual Osmotic Potential models) and post-germination seedling growth to emergence from the soil. The simulation is intended for educational purposes and simple instructions and comprehensive descriptions of the simulation and sub-models are also provided. The fit of the models to germination data collected in a matrix of temperature and water potential conditions is also demonstrated.


The model is not interactive from this site. You must download the executable form of the model below in order to use it.

About downloading the model:

  • All files have been checked using the Kaspersky anti-virus scanner.
  • The simulation model is windows compatible (Windows 98 onwards).
  • The simulation is provided as an educational aid and no liability is accepted for its use.
  • The simulation is downloaded as zipped files that you will need to unzip. In windows XP you will automatically be offered this service. In other versions you may need to do this manually. Software is available from the following web site: . Two files will be revealed. Clicking on File 1 (simulation model) will run the simulation. File 2 (Met Data) is a support file for the simulation model.
  • The model has been thoroughly tested, but errors may become apparent when it is operated in other systems. We would be grateful if you could inform us if you find a problem. It is likely we will launch a revised version in the future. If you register your Email address with us we will inform you when the revised version is placed on the web site so you can download the latest version.. Please register with . Alterations and suggestions concerning the model will be available by downloading Frequently Asked Questions below.

There are four things to download in the simulation package:

1. A working simulation model (File 1) for carrot and onion crops with 40 years of weather data (File 2). (Zipped files, 258KB)

2. Simple instructions on how to operate the simulation. (PDF)

3. Detailed background information on the component models and their development with references to the literature. Information is also provided on the seed, site, soil type and weather records used in the simulation. (PDF)

4. Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) 


More information about the simulation:

The seedling emergence simulation has resulted from a collaborative programme of work between the Seed Science Group, School of Life Sciences (formerly Warwick HRI), University of Warwick and the Soil Science Group at Silsoe Research Institute (now Rothamsted Research). The programme was funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The purpose of the simulation is to encapsulate, test and demonstrate the understanding we have gained about germination and seedling emergence from laboratory and field work. The simulation also enables the running of scenarios in a wider range of conditions than that feasible by field experimentation alone. The models contained in the simulation were developed for field sown vegetable crops, but the simulation has the potential to be extended for use with many other species in crop production and the natural environment. For example, we are currently extending the simulation to include the first weed species with a view to studying the impact of the seedbed environment on the relative timing of seedling emergence from crops and weeds.