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Record crop yields in Sichuan surpass goals

By HOU LIQIANG and ZOU SHUO | China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-16 11:18

Homegrown technology increases output on nation's agricultural land
The output of super hybrid rice, grown with technology developed by the late "father of hybrid rice" Yuan Longping, at a demonstration base in Sichuan province, has reached a world record of almost 18.8 metric tons per hectare, surpassing the target set by the scientist in 2018.

In accordance with the method prescribed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to estimate the yield for super hybrid rice, a team of experts from five institutions, including the China National Rice Research Institute and the Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, randomly chose three plots in the base in Dechang county to harvest on Saturday.

The No 1 plot dwarfed the other two plots with roughly 19.7 tons of output per hectare, and the average output of the three plots stood at almost 18.8 metric tons per hectare, according to a report from People's Daily.

"Based on the consistent progress in the past five years, we have unprecedentedly exceeded the target of 18 tons per hectare, an unfinished wish for Yuan," Xu Jingbo, Party chief of the Hunan Hybrid Rice Research Center in the Hunan provincial capital Changsha, was quoted as saying.

Yuan, who is renowned for developing the first hybrid rice strain that relieved countless people of hunger, set the target of 18 tons per hectare in 2018. In that year, the super hybrid rice was introduced to the base in Dechang, as agricultural experts made efforts to fulfill the target.

Yuan died of organ failure at the age of 91 in May 2021.

In total, 7.3 hectares of the super hybrid rice was planted in the demonstration base this year. Workers started to raise rice seedlings on March 20, and the seedlings were transplanted from April 24 to May 5.

Li Jianwu, a researcher from the Hunan Hybrid Rice Research Center, said the variety of the super hybrid rice for demonstration is key for the record output.

With strong lodging resistance, the variety developed by the center, which is named Liliangyou 8022, has huge spikes and more grains.

In another development, the average yield of rice resistant to saline-alkaline land planted at a demonstration base of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps has reached a new record of 8.6 tons per hectare, experts said on Friday.

The demonstration land, in Alar city, covers an area of more than 712 hectares.

It only had a few plants before rice was planted earlier this year, as its soil is high in saline and alkaline, which makes it unfit for rice planting.

According to the Changsha seed research center at the national saline-alkaline resistant rice technology innovation center, experts from Hunan and Xinjiang tried to reduce the saline and alkaline levels in the soil and selected suitable rice crops.

Chen Wenfu, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and head of the expert team, said the planting of the rice marks the successful application of Chinese selection and cultivation of rice crops resistant to saline-alkaline soil.

China has around 100 million hectares of saline-alkaline land, among which one-third is suitable to develop into arable land.

The country has 11 rice crops that have passed national tests that can be planted on such land, and the crops have been planted on an accumulative saline-alkaline area of more than 66,700 hectares in more than 10 provincial regions.

The national saline-alkaline resistant rice technology innovation center was established by 11 institutions including the Hunan Hybrid Rice Research Center, Hainan University, the Xinjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

The center aims to cultivate more high-yield crops suitable for saline-alkaline land and achieve the goal of reaching an additional yield of 30 million tons of crops, and feeding 80 million people by planting crops on 6.67 million hectares of saline-alkaline land.

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