China steps up efforts to ensure spring farming

By Gao Yuncai, Sun Chao, People’s Daily

A Chinese proverb says that a year’s plan starts with spring. In China, more than half of the grain area is planted in the spring, and spring farming concerns the harvests in the following two seasons.

At present, spring farming and preparation is conducted across the country from south to north, and multiple measures have been rolled out to guarantee agricultural production.

To stabilize grain and soybean output and increase corn acreage is a major theme of China’s spring farming this year. In 2020, China will work to ensure the planting of over 1.75 billion mu (117 million hectares) of grains this year, and to consolidate the planting area of double cropping rice is a priority in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Besides, the country will also ensure that the newly added planting areas of early season rice in 2020 is not reduced this year. Corn acreage is expected to be expanded in northeast China, North China Plain, southwest China and northwest China. Soybean planting area will be stabilized in these regions.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), the planting areas of winter wheat and winter rapeseed will recover growth this year. A total of 335 million mu of winter wheat is planted, 3 million mu more than that from a year ago; 96 million mu of winter rapeseed is planted, up around 4 million mu year on year. The growth of winter wheat and winter rapeseed in most places of China is better than that in the last year. The proportion of first- and second-class winter wheat has reached 88.5 percent, 1.9 percentages higher year on year, laying a solid foundation for summer harvest.

Sufficient supply of agricultural materials is ensuring smooth spring farming and future harvests.

In an agricultural cooperative in Xiapanao village, Ankang Township, Anxiang County, Changde, central China’s Hunan Province, 15,000 kilograms of seed rice are standing by in a warehouse. The seed rice, apart from being distributed to the 2,000 mu of farmland contracted by the cooperative, will also be offered for other nearby major growers, serving the production in a total of nearly 4,000 mu of land.

“The recent situation in the market indicated that the supply of seeds is sufficient this spring, and the supply of other agricultural materials is also guaranteed,” said Zhou Jianguo, head of the cooperative.

As a major grain producer of Hunan Province, Anxiang County is planning to grow over 810,000 mu of grains this year. To promote large-scale production of early season rice, the county has established five sprout cultivation factories, which will be completed at the end of March before the start of sprout cultivation.

According to MARA, 3.4 billion kilograms of corn, rice and soybean seeds will be offered for this year’s spring farming. Besides, 20.3 million tons of fertilizers are also expected to be provided.

Agricultural machineries are also offering effective services for spring farming.

Zhongxian County in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality has been promoting subsidizing policies for purchasing agricultural machineries just after the Spring Festival. The municipality has offered a total subsidy of 72 million yuan ($11.14 million), and dispatched machinists to villages to guide the maintenance, testing and reconditioning of agricultural machineries.

Xu Zongquan is a major grower in Zhongling village, Xinli Township of Zhongxian County. He runs a professional cooperative in the village that offers machinery services for nearby farmers.

His cooperative has all kinds of agricultural machines, including rice transplanters with three robotic arms, as well as drones that are able to spray pesticides. Besides, a rotary cultivator in the cooperative is able to plough over 40 mu of land per day.

It is reported that over 22 million sets of agricultural machineries will be employed in China’s spring farming this year. Most of the machineries have been reconditioned and have been put into service.