Quantifying the contributing and limiting factors of yield potential is of vital importance, and the closure of existing yield gaps on currently available agricultural land is regarded as the most effective measure to meet future food demands. In this study, the CERES-Rice model and long-term rice yield records of 12 sites from 1981 to 2010 were combined together to investigate the spatial and temporal distributions of yield potential, yield attainable, yield actual, and yield gaps for double cropping rice in the Pearl River Delta (PRD), China. The evaluated yield potential of all the sites ranged from 7500 to 14,900 kg/ha, while yield attainable was from 6400 to 12,665 kg/ha, and yield actual was from 4000 to 7000 kg/ha. The yield gaps between yield potential and yield actual, yield potential and yield attainable, and yield attainable and yield actual were projected to be 3500 kg/ha, 1400 kg/ha, and 2100 kg/ha, respectively. The decrease of yield potential was due to the increasing temperature for early mature rice and the prolonged sunshine hours for the yield potential of late mature rice, respectively. The social–economic impacts of yield actual were also assessed, and adaptive measures were simulated so that the yield would certainly increase.
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