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Narrowing the Agronomic Yield Gaps of Maize by Improved Soil, Cultivar, and Agricultural Management Practices in Different Climate Zones of Northeast China

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  • 1 College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China
  • | 2 Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
  • | 3 School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • | 4 College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China
  • | 5 College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing, and Ningxia Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Yinchuan, China
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Abstract

Northeast China (NEC) is one of the major agricultural production areas in China, producing about 30% of China’s total maize output. In the past five decades, maize yields in NEC increased rapidly. However, farmer yields still have potential to be increased. Therefore, it is important to quantify the impacts of agronomic factors, including soil physical properties, cultivar selections, and management practices on yield gaps of maize under the changing climate in NEC in order to provide reliable recommendations to narrow down the yield gaps. In this study, the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM)-Maize model was used to separate the contributions of soil physical properties, cultivar selections, and management practices to maize yield gaps. The results indicate that approximately 5%, 12%, and 18% of potential yield loss of maize is attributable to soil physical properties, cultivar selection, and management practices. Simulation analyses showed that potential ascensions of yield of maize by improving soil physical properties PAYs, changing to cultivar with longer maturity PAYc, and improving management practices PAYm for the entire region were 0.6, 1.5, and 2.2 ton ha−1 or 9%, 23%, and 34% increases, respectively, in NEC. In addition, PAYc and PAYm varied considerably from location to location (0.4 to 2.2 and 0.9 to 4.5 ton ha−1 respectively), which may be associated with the spatial variation of growing season temperature and precipitation among climate zones in NEC. Therefore, changing to cultivars with longer growing season requirement and improving management practices are the top strategies for improving yield of maize in NEC, especially for the north and west areas.

Corresponding author address: Xiaoguang Yang, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, No. 2 Yuanmingyuan West Rd., Haidian District, Beijing 100193, China. E-mail address: yangxg@cau.edu.cn

This article is included in the Biogeophysical Climate Impacts of Land Use and Land Cover Change (LULCC) special collection.

Abstract

Northeast China (NEC) is one of the major agricultural production areas in China, producing about 30% of China’s total maize output. In the past five decades, maize yields in NEC increased rapidly. However, farmer yields still have potential to be increased. Therefore, it is important to quantify the impacts of agronomic factors, including soil physical properties, cultivar selections, and management practices on yield gaps of maize under the changing climate in NEC in order to provide reliable recommendations to narrow down the yield gaps. In this study, the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM)-Maize model was used to separate the contributions of soil physical properties, cultivar selections, and management practices to maize yield gaps. The results indicate that approximately 5%, 12%, and 18% of potential yield loss of maize is attributable to soil physical properties, cultivar selection, and management practices. Simulation analyses showed that potential ascensions of yield of maize by improving soil physical properties PAYs, changing to cultivar with longer maturity PAYc, and improving management practices PAYm for the entire region were 0.6, 1.5, and 2.2 ton ha−1 or 9%, 23%, and 34% increases, respectively, in NEC. In addition, PAYc and PAYm varied considerably from location to location (0.4 to 2.2 and 0.9 to 4.5 ton ha−1 respectively), which may be associated with the spatial variation of growing season temperature and precipitation among climate zones in NEC. Therefore, changing to cultivars with longer growing season requirement and improving management practices are the top strategies for improving yield of maize in NEC, especially for the north and west areas.

Corresponding author address: Xiaoguang Yang, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, No. 2 Yuanmingyuan West Rd., Haidian District, Beijing 100193, China. E-mail address: yangxg@cau.edu.cn

This article is included in the Biogeophysical Climate Impacts of Land Use and Land Cover Change (LULCC) special collection.

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