China / Innovation

Super hybrid-rice sees massive yield drop

( Updated: 2015-04-10 20:15

Super hybrid-rice sees massive yield drop

Yuan Longping, left, the father of hybrid rice in China, checks a rice field in this 2013 file photo. [Photo/asianewsphoto]

Massive crop failure was reported in rice fields where strains developed by China's "father of hybrid rice" Yuan Longping was cultivated, reported Southern Weekly on Thursday.

Significant crop loss caused by rice blast, a deadly disease affecting cultivated rice, hit more than 10,000 mu (1 hectare equals 15 mu) of rice fields in six cities in Anhui province, a major rice producer in East China in the autumn harvest season last year.

In Wuhe county, the yield of rice fields plummeted from 500 kilograms per mu to 50 kilograms per mu or even to none.

"Anhui was hit hard by the crop failure," said Liu Gen, deputy head of the provincial seed administration station.

After witnessing massive crop failures, local farmers blamed misleading advertisements for their loss.

On the package of seeds sold to farmers, the ad claims the strains has a resistance of 5.6 grades, which indicates an incidence rate of only 25 percent, but inside the package, a piece of paper shows that the seeds have a resistance of 9 grades, suggesting the possibility of catching a disease is as high as 100 percent, according to the Southern Weekly report.

In response, Peng Guanjian, the executive president of Yuan Long Ping High-Tech Agriculture Co., told National Business Daily on Thursday that the poor harvest was mainly a result of a natural disaster which affected not only rice fields on which Liangyou 0293 are planted, but also other varieties.

The affected hybrid-rice strains, "Liangyou 2093", is one of the products developed by Yuan Long Ping High-Tech Agriculture Co., an enterprise founded in 1999 to promote super high-yield hybrid rice.

China launched an initiative to cultivate super high-yield hybrid-rice the 1990s in an effort to feed 20 percent of the world population with only seven percent of its arable lands. Yuan Longping was designated as leader of the research team.

Under Yuan's leadership, the output of the "super hybrid rice" surpassed 1,000 kilograms per mu last year.

However, the whole picture of rice growing in China seems grimmer than the glamorous figures registered at test fields. On average, yield of rice fields across the country stood at 447.8 kilograms in 2013, roughly half the output recorded at experimental farmlands.

The difference between actual output and experimental output lies in that the rice planted in test fields enjoy "better fertility, better environment and better cultivation", said Deng Guofu, a rice expert at Guangxi Academy of Agriculture.


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