High-yielding short-duration cultivars are required due to the development of mechanized large-scale double-season rice (i.e. early- and late-season rice) production in China. The objective of this study was to identify whether existing early-season rice cultivars can be used as resources to select high-yielding, short-duration (less than 115 days) cultivars of machine-transplanted late-season rice. Field experiments were conducted in Yongan, Hunan Province, China in the early and late rice-growing seasons in 2015 and 2016. Eight early-season rice cultivars (Liangyou 6, Lingliangyou 211, Lingliangyou 268, Xiangzaoxian 32, Xiangzaoxian 42, Zhongjiazao 17, Zhongzao 39, and Zhuliangyou 819) with growth durations of less than 115 days were used in 2015, and four cultivars (Lingliangyou 268, Zhongjiazao 17, Zhongzao 39, and Zhuliangyou 819) with good yield performance in the late season in 2015 were grown in 2016. All cultivars had a growth duration of less than 110 days when grown in the late season in both years. Zhongjiazao 17 produced the maximum grain yield of 9.61 Mg ha−1 with a daily grain yield of 108 kg ha−1 d−1 in the late season in 2015. Averaged across both years, Lingliangyou 268 had the highest grain yield of 8.57 Mg ha−1 with a daily grain yield of 95 kg ha−1 d−1 in the late season. The good yield performance of the early-season rice cultivars grown in the late season was mainly attributable to higher apparent radiation use efficiency. Growth duration and grain yield of early-season rice cultivars grown in the late season were not significantly related to those grown in the early season. Our study suggests that it is feasible to select high-yielding short-duration cultivars from existing early-season rice cultivars for machine-transplanted late-season rice production. Special tests by growing alternative early-season rice cultivars in the late season should be done to determine their growth duration and grain yield for such selection.