China reaps bumper summer harvest securing food security
* By Monday, China had finished reaping winter wheat on 167 million mu (about 11.13 million hectares) of farmland, accounting for around 55 percent of its total winter wheat.
* Spanning from May to late June traditionally, the grain output in the summer harvest takes up about a quarter of the annual total, which is of great significance to China's food security.
* More than 1.5 million sets of agricultural machinery and over 280,000 farmers and agricultural technicians are joining in the harvest in Shandong, striving to keep the average loss rate under 2 percent.
* Nowadays, the traditional production methods have undergone huge changes as smart agricultural technology, drones, and high-yielding varieties of crops have been widely used.
JINAN -- About 16.5 million pieces of agricultural machinery are currently roaring on the vast farmlands of China, with over 3 million farmers and technicians taking part in the country's summer harvest.
By Monday, the country had finished reaping winter wheat on 167 million mu (about 11.13 million hectares) of farmland, accounting for around 55 percent of its total winter wheat, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Aerial photo taken on June 2, 2022 shows harvesters reaping wheat in the fields in Tancheng County of Linyi City, east China's Shandong Province. [Xinhua/Guo Xulei]
Wheat harvest in southwest China's Sichuan Province and central China's Hubei Province has almost come to a close, while that in the provinces of Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi and Hebei will be in full swing soon.
China's summer harvest focuses on reaping winter wheat and oilseed rape. Spanning from May to late June traditionally, the grain output in the period takes up about a quarter of the annual total, which is of great significance to China's food security.
Minimizing the losses in the process of harvesting is one of the keywords of the summer harvest this year.
In east China's Shandong Province, China's second-largest wheat-producing area, a variety of loss-cutting activities have been carried out in each county and city with wheat plantation areas exceeding 33,000 hectares.
Meanwhile, more than 1.5 million sets of agricultural machinery and over 280,000 farmers and agricultural technicians are joining in the harvest in Shandong, striving to keep the average loss rate under 2 percent.
By reaching that goal, the whole province can save 300 million kg of wheat during the harvest, according to a local agricultural official.
Aerial photo taken on June 8, 2022 shows harvesters working in wheat fields in Xisong Village of Sansi Township, Xingtai City, north China's Hebei Province. [Xinhua/Zhu Xudong]
Dong Huilong, a farmer in Yuncheng City, north China's Shanxi Province, feels jubilant these days.
"Although wheat was sown late, the harvest is expected better than last year thanks to better management afterward," said Dong, who grows over 8 hectares of wheat.
More than 7.3 million hectares of wheat were sown late in China's major summer grain powerhouses, including the provinces of Henan, Shandong and Shanxi, due to floods last fall.
Therefore, more than 6 billion yuan (about 900 million U.S. dollars) have been pooled to ensure the production of summer grain. Experts and technicians have been sent to the villages to help farmers overcome the adverse impacts of the late sowing.
"We made some adjustments in seed selection, sowing volume, and the amount of fertilization. Furthermore, we provided face-to-face guidance to local farmers in the farmland," said Lyu Fen, an agricultural expert in Yanhu District, Yuncheng.
TECH MAKES DIFFERENCE
The advancement of science and technology has boosted China's grain production capacity.
Nowadays, the traditional production methods have undergone huge changes as smart agricultural technology, drones, and high-yielding varieties of crops have been widely used.
Aerial photo taken on May 25, 2022 shows harvesters loading wheat onto a truck in Duanchong Village of Xiaomiao Township, Hefei City, east China's Anhui Province. [Photo by Chen Sanhu/Xinhua]
Benefiting from those aspects, China's per capita share of grain exceeded 470 kg in 2021, higher than the internationally-recognized security baseline of 400 kg.
In the city of Zouping, Shandong, intelligent pest monitoring stations, solar insecticidal lamps, smart meteorological stations and digital monitoring and service systems have been installed in high-standard farms this year, in a bid to secure the quality and safety of wheat.
Besides scientific and advanced production methods, China has made substantial progress in the storage of grain and strengthened the construction of grain storage facilities in recent years.
The Sinograin grain storage site in Shandong is equipped with 4,500 high-definition cameras and 280,000 temperature sensors to ensure the stock is in the best condition.
Technologies including central air-conditioning, intelligent ventilation, and temperature control by nitrogen have been used there, to keep the average temperature below 15 degrees Celsius all year round, and prevent grain from going bad.
Local farmer Bai Lucai shows newly-harvested wheat in Huyang Town of Tanghe County, Nanyang City, central China's Henan Province, May 22, 2022. [Xinhua/Zhang Haoran]
Data shows that during China's 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), about 13 million tonnes of food had been saved annually during processes after production.
"China has used scientific and effective management means to ensure the food security," said Wang Juanling, vice president of Shanxi Agricultural University.
Reporting by Zhang Xinyi, Sun Xiaohui, Zhang Zhilong, Xie Yuan and Xia Xiao; Video reporters: Jiang Liang, Fan Changguo, Li Yanan and Li Xiaobo; Video editors: Peng Ying and Luo Hui