Despite reports of certain strains of hybrid rice failing in China over the last few years, Changsha county in Hunan province has been praised for making a success of the high-yielding crops.
Hybrid rice accounts for 85 percent of the 540,000 mu (36,000 hectares) of rice fields in the county and can yield as much as 30 percent more than non-hybrid varieties.
A delegation of eight academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering visited the county on Sept 27 as part of their research on agricultural development there.
Chen Liyun (R1), professor of Hunan Agricultural University, presents the cultivation of rice in Changsha county to the academicians, on Sept 27. [Photo by Jiang Zhibin/csxnews.com]
They visited Jiangbei and Qingshanpu, two towns that have developed a reputation for yielding large amounts of rice and successfully breeding seeds from strong crop varieties.
The academicians also spoke highly of the county's method of planting rice over two seasons. Early rice is planted between February and April and harvested 90 to 120 days after being sowed. Farmers then plant late varieties of rice as soon as early varieties are harvested. After a longer breeding cycle, late rice is harvested in October and November.
"Two seasons of rice can improve both the yield and quality," said Guan Chunyun, an academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering.
"The county's planting mode is worthy of spreading and promoting in the whole country."
China is the world's largest producer of rice and is around 90 percent self-sufficient; it imported 2.58 million tons in 2014, partly due to a larger demand from high-income customers to buy more fragrant varieties from neighboring countries.
(From China Daily, 2016-09-30)