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Open AccessArticle

Improving High-Latitude Rice Nitrogen Management with the CERES-Rice Crop Model

Center for Resource, Environment and Food Security, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
Precision Agriculture Center, Department of Soil, Water and Climate, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
Biosystems Engineering Department, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
School of Surveying and Land Information Engineering, Henan Polytechnic University, Jiaozuo 454000, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2018, 8(11), 263;
Received: 8 October 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 11 November 2018 / Published: 15 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Mineral Nutrition: Principles and Perspectives)
Efficient use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer is critically important for China’s food security and sustainable development. Crop models have been widely used to analyze yield variability, assist in N prescriptions, and determine optimum N rates. The objectives of this study were to use the CERES-Rice model to simulate the N response of different high-latitude, adapted flooded rice varieties to different types of weather seasons, and to explore different optimum rice N management strategies with the combinations of rice varieties and types of weather seasons. Field experiments conducted for five N rates and three varieties in Northeast China during 2011–2016 were used to calibrate and evaluate the CERES-Rice model. Historical weather data (1960–2014) were classified into three weather types (cool/normal/warm) based on cumulative growing degree days during the normal growing season for rice. After calibrating the CERES-Rice model for three varieties and five N rates, the model gave good simulations for evaluation seasons for top weight (R2 ≥ 0.96), leaf area index (R2 ≥ 0.64), yield (R2 ≥ 0.71), and plant N uptake (R2 ≥ 0.83). The simulated optimum N rates for the combinations of varieties and weather types ranged from 91 to 119 kg N ha−1 over 55 seasons of weather data and were in agreement with the reported values of the region. Five different N management strategies were evaluated based on farmer practice, regional optimum N rates, and optimum N rates simulated for different combinations of varieties and weather season types over 20 seasons of weather data. The simulated optimum N rate, marginal net return, and N partial factor productivity were sensitive to both variety and type of weather year. Based on the simulations, climate warming would favor the selection of the 12-leaf variety, Longjing 21, which would produce higher yield and marginal returns than the 11-leaf varieties under all the management strategies evaluated. The 12-leaf variety with a longer growing season and higher yield potential would require higher N rates than the 11-leaf varieties. In summary, under warm weather conditions, all the rice varieties would produce higher yield, and thus require higher rates of N fertilizers. Based on simulation results using the past 20 years of weather data, variety-specific N management was a practical strategy to improve N management and N partial factor productivity compared with farmer practice and regional optimum N management in the study region. The CERES-Rice crop growth model can be a useful tool to help farmers select suitable precision N management strategies to improve N-use efficiency and economic returns. View Full-Text
Keywords: crop model; high latitude rice; nitrogen use efficiency; precision nitrogen management; sustainable development; variety-specific management; weather-specific management crop model; high latitude rice; nitrogen use efficiency; precision nitrogen management; sustainable development; variety-specific management; weather-specific management
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Zhang, J.; Miao, Y.; Batchelor, W.D.; Lu, J.; Wang, H.; Kang, S. Improving High-Latitude Rice Nitrogen Management with the CERES-Rice Crop Model. Agronomy 2018, 8, 263.

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