ADAPT: Model use, calibration, and validation

P. H. Gowda, D. J. Mulla, E. D. Desmond, A. D. Ward, D. N. Moriasi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


This article presents an overview of the Agricultural Drainage and Pesticide Transport (ADAPT) model and a case study to illustrate the calibration and validation steps for predicting subsurface drainage and nitrate-N losses from an agricultural system. The ADAPT model is a daily time step, field-scale water table management model that was developed as an extension of the GLEAMS model. The GLEAMS algorithms were augmented with algorithms for subsurface drainage, subsurface irrigation, deep seepage, and related water quality processes. Recently, a frost depth algorithm was incorporated to enhance the model's capability to predict flow during spring and fall months. In addition to the normal GLEAMS output, ADAPT gives estimates of pesticides and nutrients in drainage. The model has four components: hydrology, erosion, nutrient transport, and pesticide transport. Predictions of surface runoff and subsurface drainage by ADAPT are very sensitive to hydrology input parameters, such as NRCS curve number, hydraulic conductivity, depth of the impeding layer, and hydraulic conductivity of the impeding layer. In the erosion component, slope, hydraulic length, and crop management are the most sensitive factors. Nutrients generally follow the trends in surface runoff and subsurface drainage. In addition, nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in soil horizons are sensitive to nutrient losses. Recently, the ADAPT model was further calibrated and validated in southern Minnesota to evaluate impacts of subsurface drain spacing and depth, rate and timing of nitrogen application, and precipitation changes on water quality. ADAPT is written in FORTRAN, and the source code is available to interested model users. Considering the limited technical support and text editor-based input files, development of a user-friendly interface to create input files would greatly enhance ADAPT's acceptability by users involved in modeling agricultural systems equipped with subsurface drains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1352
Number of pages8
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Nonpoint-source pollution
  • Subsurface drainage system
  • Upper Midwest
  • Water quality
  • Water table management


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