High rice yield in heavy saline-alkali soil of NE China

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On Oct. 10, experts organized by the Cultivated Land Quality Monitoring and Protection Center (CLQMPC) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) estimated the yield of a demonstration paddy field with heavy saline-alkali soil.

On this land, a 1,000 mu (about 67 hectares) field in Da'an City of northeast China's Jilin province, the experts randomly selected three plots for harvest and yield calculation. After land measuring, weighing, moisture measuring, impurity removal, and other strict procedures, the results showed that the average yield per mu of the three pieces was 659.714 kg, up 50.99% compared with 436.921 kg per mu of the control fields.

"The yield per hectare is close to a staggering 10,000 kg, which is the level of the high-yielding rice fields in our city," said Li Jinyou, an official from Da'an Natural Resources Bureau.

"Even grass couldn't survive on such saline-alkali soil," said Li Guo, a rice farmer of a selected plot. "Previous attempts only led to a yield of less than 2,000 kg per hectare. Now the yield has multiplied."

Da'an City is located in the heart of Songnen Plain, one of the world's three major tracts of soda saline-alkali land. Known as "soil cancer," saline-alkali land exhibits problems such as soil compaction, low content of organic matter and poor soil physicochemical properties, all of which are unsuitable for crop growth.

The soil in the demonstration field was ameliorated through organosilicon soil conditioner and a set of technical routes for saline-alkali soil treatment. These new technologies were developed by Hebei Silicon Valley Research Institute of Agricultural Sciences.

These technologies can promote soil granulation and improve permeability, both favorable to the propagation of beneficial organisms. It can also hinder the rise of salt-bearing groundwater to make the arable layer less salinized. Under such circumstances, the irrigation water tends to seep down, taking salt away from the surface.

"Our conditioner also contains nutrients that can meet the growth needs of crops and create a good environment for their root system, improving both yield and quality," noted Nie Hongmin, a technical expert with the research institute.

The cultivated land in China is divided into one to ten grades based on its quality from high to low. According to a MARA bulletin on the quality grade of cultivated land in China in 2019, the area of cultivated land evaluated as grade four to ten in northeast China is 215 million mu, of which 66 million mu is saline-alkali land.

"The improvement of every 10 million mu of saline-alkali cultivated land in northeast China will lead to an increase of five billion kg in the overall grain production. This is a successful demonstration. We hope these new technologies and models can be applied widely to saline-alkali land, converting saline-alkali wastelands into high-yield farmland," commented Li Rong, deputy director of CLQMPC.

Content created in partnership with Science and Technology Daily.

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