Demonstration area aims to boost crop yields on saline-alkaline soils

By Zhao Yimeng | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-08-16 08:50
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Huang Fenghong of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences inspects combined soybean and corn planted on saline-alkaline land at the Agricultural High-tech Industry Demonstration Area of the Yellow River Delta in Dongying, Shandong province. ZHAO YIMENG/CHINA DAILY

The greater use of previously nonproductive land will help raise production levels and ensure the nation's food security. Zhao Yimeng reports from Dongying, Shandong.

In mid-July, soybean and corn that had been planted together were growing well on farmland at a demonstration area in Dongying, Shandong province. Meanwhile, a large number of freshly harvested potatoes were spread out on the porous, fast-draining soil.

Those results were not easy to achieve because 80 percent of the soil in the Agricultural High-tech Industry Demonstration Area of the Yellow River Delta in Dongying has high levels of salinity and alkalinity as a result of coastal erosion and high saltwater saturation. Those conditions inhibit crop growth and result in lower plant biomass.

In recent years, a wide variety of high-yield saline-and alkaline-tolerant crops have been grown on such soil through environmentally friendly land use and innovations in the seed industry.

From managing the soil to make it suitable for plant cultivation to breeding crop varieties that can tolerate saline-alkaline soils, the demonstration area is adapting its strategy to increase farmland yields in a more environmentally friendly way.

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