Ongoing Improvements and Applications of the CERES-Rice Model

Photo: Greenhouse rice.

Rice is the most important cereal crop, and it is grown in a wide range of agro-environments, from temperate to tropical regions. It is also highly vulnerable to climatic variability and has a very low nutrient-use efficiency. Crop simulation models are an attractive option for understanding and predicting the effect of the multitude of factors and processes that affect rice growth. A literature review was undertaken to quantify the scope of use and the impact of the CERES-Rice model in research, teaching, extension and policy development.

Since its development in the early 1990s at the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) through USAID funds, the CERES-Rice model has been applied to a wide range of focus areas, including crop management and shifting weather patterns. One of the main aims of this model is to ultimately (indirectly) help farmers by identifying major yield-limiting factors and thus prioritizing and developing research areas to improve cropping systems. The nearly 300 studies performed in 15 countries (see table below) utilizing the model have and will continue to increase our understanding of and decision-making in crop management (e.g., planting window, variety selection, planting density, irrigation options and nutrient rates), our assistance in agricultural policy development and our comprehension of and preparation for the impact of shifting weather patterns. To ensure CERES-Rice correctly simulates the effect of high temperature, drought and CO2 change, a collaborative partnership between IFDC, the University of Florida, and the global Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) rice team has been developed.

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by James Thigpen,

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