China's summer grain harvest increased despite rare floods last year, laying a solid foundation for the annual grain harvest, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Thursday.
The summer grain output reached 147.4 million metric tons, increasing 1.4 million tons from last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The output of wheat stood at 135.7 million tons, up 1 percent year-on-year.
Pan Wenbo, director of the ministry's planting management department, said favorable weather conditions and technical support contributed to the summer grain harvest.
The winter was warmer and there was no severe spring drought, he said. Sufficient soil moisture and the large temperature difference between morning and evening also helped wheat production.
Meanwhile, funds from the central government for grain production increased by 15.5 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) over the previous year.
Experts directed the wheat planting and were dispatched to provinces seriously affected by floods to guide the growing.
Effective protection from plant diseases and pests also ensured output. About 1.6 billion yuan was allocated to plant protection for wheat, including spraying pesticides, which led to better-than-normal wheat quality, Pan said.
The yields of summer grain are better than expected, with per hectare yield reaching 5.5 tons. "The increase of yields contributed to 64 percent of the total production growth," he said.
To alleviate the effect of epidemic control and prevention amid machine harvesting, operators were in place five days before the harvest started in Shanghai, and Anhui and Henan provinces.
The loss rate of wheat harvested was kept within 2 percent and the process was faster than normal years, Pan said.
Zhao Menghui, a major grain grower in Xingtai in Hebei province, said he went through ups and downs from planting to harvesting summer grain on his 54.7 hectares of farmland this year.
He was really worried when the severe floods inundated his fields last year, destroying the corn harvest and the fields for growing wheat.
"When I was about to give up the planting for this season, agricultural technicians found me and made targeted plans to rescue the fields," Zhao said.
The field management suggestions by technicians also boosted wheat growth on his farmland.
Zhao sold 485 tons of wheat this year. "Deducting the cost of land rent, fertilizers and labor, the net income of a hectare of wheat is 8,775 yuan. In addition, we have received subsidies for agricultural inputs. This is actually the best year for me as a farmer," Zhao said.
Zhang Guohua, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission, said that 34.3 million tons of wheat had been purchased from the main producing areas as of July 10, a year-on-year increase of 1.6 million tons.
"The situation of China's food security is relatively good, and it has the ability and advantages to deal with external shocks," he said.
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