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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Forage and Livestock Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342531

Research Project: Integrated Forage Systems for Food and Energy Production in the Southern Great Plains

Location: Forage and Livestock Production Research

Title: Climate zones determine where substantial increases of maize yields can be attained in Northeast China

Author
item Liu, Zhijuan - China Agricultural University
item Yang, Xiaoguang - China Agricultural University
item Lin, Xiaomao - Kansas State University
item Gowda, Prasanna
item Lv, Shuo - China Agricultural University
item Wang, Jing - China Agricultural University

Submitted to: Journal of Climate Change
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/26/2018
Publication Date: 8/14/2018
Citation: Liu, Z., Yang, X., Lin, X., Gowda, P.H., Lv, S., Wang, J. 2018. Climate zones determine where substantial increases of maize yields can be attained in Northeast China. Journal of Climate Change. 149:473–487. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2243-x.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2243-x

Interpretive Summary: For understanding the prospects for increasing crop yield, we must first have a thorough understanding of theoretically possible crop growth and development, which depends on climatic, edaphic, hydrological, physiological and management factors. In this modeling study, a crop simulation model was used to estimate yield gaps in maize production in 10 climatic zones of the northeast China for the 1961-2010 period. Results indicated that regional area-averaged yield gap between potential yield and actual on-farm yields was 64% and decreased by 11.0% per decade. Although yield gaps were down to 43% in the past decade, there is still a substantial opportunity in northeast china to increase production if water management researchers organize and communicate their research findings to address water management issues.

Technical Abstract: As demand for food and energy increase with an increase in global population, societies are pressed to increase their food production. Closing the gap between current and potential yields is one means of producing more food. In this study, we first identified the maize yield gaps between potential yield and actual on-farm yields, and yield gaps caused by suboptimal water availability (YGw) for ten climate zones (CZs) in Northeast China (NEC) based on a yield trend analysis for the 1961-2010 period, and then identify the CZs where maize yield might be increased through improved irrigation management. The non-parametric trend analysis showed that the estimated regional area-averaged yield gap between potential yield and actual on-farm yields was 64% and decreased by 11.0% per decade (p < 0.01). Although yield gaps were reduced to 43% in the past decade, the on-farm maize yields were only 57% of the potential yields. Therefore, there is still a considerable yield gap in maize production in NEC. Simulation results indicated that an average YGw of 23% in NEC is due to suboptimal water availability. The YGw was ranged from14-48% in CZs where the precipitation during the maize growing season was lower than 450 mm; conversely in the other CZs, YGw was ranged from 5-13%. We conclude that there are substantial opportunities to increase the maize production up to 19% through improved irrigation management if creation of limited irrigation resources is feasible especially in CZs with maize growing season precipitation less than 450 mm.