China Focus: Farmers see bumper summer grain harvest despite epidemic

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HEFEI, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Benefiting from agricultural equipment sharing platforms and demand management that creates a balance between supply and demand, Chinese farmers are introducing smarter and modern ideas to secure a harvest year despite COVID-19.

Facing challenges such as labor shortage as workers were advised to stay at home during the epidemic, agricultural drones are giving a helping hand to major grain growers like Jia Yunfei in central China's Henan Province, one of the country's major breadbaskets.

Jia said it used to take him nearly a week to spray his farmland of 2,000 mu (over 130 hectares) in Dancheng County with pesticides while four to five drones largely boost the efficiency by cutting the crop-dusting time to less than two days this year.

Equipped with high-definition cameras and soil sensors, workers in the Longkang Farm in Huaiyuan County, east China's Anhui Province, can closely monitor the growing of wheat and carry out more targeted soil testing and formulated fertilization plans.

Ma Zhenhui in charge of the land said the farm is expected to see a fair harvest this year as the yield of wheat per mu will exceed 530 kilograms, adding that "the cutting-edge technologies have brought a revolution to our industry."

Summer grain is the first season of China's annual grain production, which accounts for more than a fifth of the annual grain output.

According to the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, China is expected to see a bumper summer grain harvest this year, with the production of summer grain and edible oil to remain at relatively high levels.


Wang Lianjie runs a machinery cooperative in Henan Province and owns over 40 items of agricultural machinery. His business is to lend the machines to those in need during the harvest season.

This year, Wang said his machines will travel to grain-growing provinces and cities including Anhui, Shandong and Tianjin.

The idea of sharing agricultural machinery might be unfamiliar to many, but it is increasingly popular among grain growers across China, said Wang. He relies on a mobile application to advertise the vacancy to those in need.

Wang also uses big data by cooperating with his counterparts based in other regions to schedule the machines ahead of the harvest season to help more farmers.

Ma Chong, head of an agricultural company in Anhui Province, also promotes the idea of sharing agriculture in his business. With a few clicks on the phone, 16 crop-spraying drones of Ma's company have been booked by farmers in Inner Mongolia, according to Ma.

Ma said the sharing model has helped eager farmers find drivers of farm machinery more quickly.


Seeing the golden waves of grain, Luo Yingli, a farmer in Anhui Province's Yingshang County is not worried about finding a buyer since his 80 hectares of wheat had already been booked by a flour enterprise six months ago.

"I have cooperated with local flour enterprises to grow their designated wheat varieties and they will haul the wheat during the harvest season," said Luo.

Based on the agreement, Luo only plants a single variety of high-quality wheat and his grain can be sold at a higher price.

"I can earn an additional 120,000 yuan (about 16,747 U.S. dollars) this year," he said.

The efforts of striking a balance between the supply and the demand have enhanced the quality of grain and led to increasing areas of high-quality crops in China.

In Anhui, the planting area of high-quality wheat accounts for 53.4 percent of the total acreage this year while that in Henan reached 900,000 hectares, and 86.4 percent of Henan's high-quality wheat has been booked.

According to the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, state purchasing of grain will generally remain stable with a slight increase, while the buying volume of wheat is expected at around 70 million tonnes and for early rice to reach 10 million tonnes. Enditem

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