CHINA / National

China cold April hits rice
Updated: 2006-05-12 20:36

China's early rice crop in major central growing areas was hit by lower-than-usual temperatures in April and heavy rains early this month may further damage the crop, industry officials said on Friday.

However, in north Henan province, the country's largest wheat growing area, wheat production is likely to hit record levels due to good weather and a bigger planting area, said the Xinhua news agency and Henan agriculture officials.

Initial data from the official China National Grain and Oils Information Centre (CNGOIC) showed the early rice crop is likely to fall 0.6 percent this year from 2005's 31.79 million tonnes.

China's southern provinces grow rice in three seasons. Early rice, harvested in June, accounts for about 20 percent of the country's total output.

"Low temperatures seriously damaged the paddy last month," said one agriculture official in the country's largest rice growing province of Hunan, adding that floods triggered by days of heavy rain also damaged the crop.

Xinhua said flooding triggered landslides, killing 10 people in the major rice growing areas of Hunan, Jiangxi, Hubei and the southern province of Guangdong, and damaging 1.97 million hectares of crops.

Henan province grew 1 percent more winter wheat, which will be harvested after May.

China is likely to harvest 94 million tonnes of winter wheat this year, up 3 percent on 2005, according to the CNGOIC. Winter wheat accounts for more than 90 percent of the country's total wheat output.