Over-application of nitrogen (N) in rice (Oryza sativa L.) production in China is common, leading to low N use efficiency (NUE) and high environmental risks. The objective of this work was to evaluate the ability of the CERES-Rice crop growth model to simulate N response in the cool climate of Northeast China, with the long term goal of using the model to develop optimum N management recommendations. Nitrogen experiments were conducted from 2011–2015 in Jiansanjiang, Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China. The CERES-Rice model was calibrated for 2014 and 2015 and evaluated for 2011 and 2013 experiments. Overall, the model gave good estimations of yield across N rates for the calibration years (R2=0.89) and evaluation years (R2=0.73). The calibrated model was then run using weather data from 2001–2015 for 20 different N rates to determine the N rate that maximized the long term marginal net return (MNR) for different N prices. The model results indicated that the optimum mean N rate was 120–130 kg N ha–1, but that the simulated optimum N rate varied each year, ranging from 100 to 200 kg N ha–1. Results of this study indicated that the CERES-Rice model was able to simulate cool season rice growth and provide estimates of optimum regional N rates that were consistent with field observations for the area.