Yield gap of rainfed rice in farmers’ fields in Central Java, Indonesia

A.A. Boling, T.P. Tuong, H. van Keulen, B.A.M. Bouman, H. Suganda, J.H.J. Spiertz

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Yield constraint analysis for rainfed rice at a research station gives insight into the relative role of occurring yield-limiting factors. However, soil nutrient status and water conditions along toposequences in rainfed farmers’ fields may differ from those at the research station. Therefore, yield constraints need to be analyzed in farmers’ fields in order to design management strategies to increase yield and yield stability. We applied production ecological concepts to analyze yield-limiting factors (water, N) on rice yields along toposequences in farmers’ fields using data from on-farm experiments conducted in 2000–2002 in Indonesia. Potential, water-limited, and N-limited yields were simulated using the ORYZA2000 crop growth model. Farmers’ fields showed large spatial and temporal variation in hydrology (354–1235 mm seasonal rainfall, -150 to 50 cm field-water depth) and fertilizer doses (76–166 N, 0–45 P, and 0–51 kg K ha-1). Farmers’ yields ranged from 0.32 to 5.88 Mg ha-1. The range in yield gap caused by water limitations was 0–28% and that caused by N limitations 35–63%, with large temporal and spatial variability. The relative limitations of water and N in farmers’ fields varied strongly among villages in rainfed rice areas and toposequence positions, with yield gaps due to water and N at the top and upper middle positions higher than at the lower middle and bottom toposequence positions, and yield gaps in late wet seasons higher than those in early wet seasons. Management options (e.g. crop establishment dates, shortening turnaround time, using varieties with shorter duration, supplemental irrigation) to help the late-season crop escape, or minimize the negative effects of, late-season droughts and supplying adequate N-fertilizer are important for increasing yield in rainfed lowland rice in Indonesia. More N-fertilizer should be given to upper toposequence positions than to lower positions because the former had a lower indigenous nutrient supply and hence a better response to N-fertilizer inputs. Systems approaches using production ecological concepts can be applied in yield constraint analysis for indentifying management strategies to increase yield and yield stability in farmers’ fields in other rainfed lowland areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-315
JournalAgricultural Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • fed lowland rice
  • exploring options
  • soil properties
  • toposequence
  • efficiencies
  • environment
  • asia


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