Record wheat yields achieved with scientific help
Source: China Daily

Modern combine harvesters work their way through a wheat field in Shanxi. LI LUJIAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

The monthlong summer harvest of wheat in Shanxi started on May 27 in the southern city of Yuncheng.

The most exciting news about the harvest is that per-unit output records had been broken and reset three times.

On June 6, a wheat demonstration farm in Yuebi village in the city of Linfen reported a per-hectare yield of 8.7 metric tons, a record for dry land wheat farming in Shanxi.

An official in the village said the performance was made in the context that sowing had been delayed for about 15 days due to the weather, which shows there is still room to increase output in the future.

The official noted that the use of new techniques, proposed by local agronomists, is the major reason behind the increase. The techniques include soil moisture improvement through deeper plowing and accurate spray irrigation.

On June 14, a farm in Dongcun village in the city of Yongji reported a per-hectare yield of 12.37 tons, breaking the record for water-rich wheat farming in Shanxi.

But the record was beaten four days later, as Dongguan village in the county of Yicheng reported a per-unit output of 12.83 tons.

The record-breaking farm in Dongguan is supervised by a team of agronomists from Shanxi Agricultural University led by professor Gao Zhiqiang.

Gao said the team's proposal to improve output is a data-analysis-based solution which can accurately calculate the optimal amounts of water and fertilizers to be used.

"Water and fertilizers are crucial in farming," Gao said. "But it is not the more the better."

The scientist said the most effective way to increase output and improve quality is the proper use of water and fertilizers. This can be calculated according to the conditions of the farm, such as soil moisture, the level of nutrition in soil, as well as light and heat exposure.

Dongguan village's record was made after the sowing of seeds was delayed for about a month for weather-related reasons. "This shows that a scientific approach to farming can help to offset the negative influence of natural uncertainties by working out remedies for farming delays caused by such natural disasters as flood, drought and cold weather," Gao said.

Wang Yuanrong, an official at the Shanxi Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said farming modernization-featuring the use of new technologies, new techniques, new equipment and new operational models-is playing a key role in raising Shanxi's agriculture to a higher level of development.

He said that more than 3,900 farming experts and agronomists have been dispatched to various counties and townships in Shanxi to promote and guide farming modernization.

The governments at all levels in Shanxi have strengthened their support for modernized farming.

Wang said the governments plan to allocate 411 million yuan ($61.16 million) this year to subsidize the purchase of farming machines.

During this summer, for instance, farmers in Shanxi have used nearly 400,000 machines for the harvest of wheat and other farming activities, according to Wang.


Wang Xiujuan contributed to this story.


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