Chinese Crop Tour

By: DeEtta Bohling, Communications Specialist

This past week I have been traveling NE China (Beijing, Harbin, Zhaodung, Zhaoyuan, Fuyu, Changchun, Changling, and Shuangliao) with the U.S. Grains Council and corn growers from Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Nebraska as a part of the Chinese Spring Corn Tour. The purpose of this tour is to survey the crop growing conditions including the weather, planting and germination. By participating on this tour, we better understand the corn market, Chinese government policies, marketing and demand, and the local feed and livestock situation.

I have spent the last three days touring the countryside of NE China and speaking to the farmers out working in their fields. It has to be intimidating for the farmer to see about twelve foreigners walking through their field towards them, but everyone has been willing to speak with us and allowed time for us to ask questions about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Agriculture is their livelihood, just like many of the growers I am traveling with and their love for the land shows.

The average size of land per farmer here is 2 hectors (about 5 acres) and the government owns all the land so farmers rent the area from the government. We have toured several fields (growing corn, rice, peppers, grapes, onions, and others), a grain buying facility, an ethanol plant, a feed mill operation, a fertilizer dealer, an equipment dealer and hog farmer.

We stopped and visited with two farmers that were doing some replanting of the skips on the first day. Corn is as far along here as it is in many areas of the U.S. farmers are having many of the same issues that folks in the United States are having, be it cooler temperatures, high moisture, or delayed planting. There is a vast amount of farm land in the areas we have toured and the soil quality is great. The last two days we have spent time in Jilin Provence. The area consists of 55 million hectors with a population of 27.9 million people. Fourteen million of those people are living in the country.

Currently, there are 3.3 million hectors dedicated to corn, though that number continues to rise. The yield also continues to rise. On average, there

are 52,000 corn plants per hector of land. Recently they have been experiencing lower temperatures during the month of May, but their largest concern is drought during the summer months. The western part of Jilin Provence has been experimenting with irrigation due to drought conditions. The cost for this is 20,000 RMB (about $3,125) per hector of land. 55% of farmers in thisarea use compound fertilizers. There are currently 8,000 seed companies in China but only 100 of them have research behind them.

The group, overall, has been impressed with the corn and soil quality and the amount of work that goes into planting by hand. Needless to say, the potential for Chinese agriculture is huge along with the use of modern agricultural technology.

Check out more photos on the U.S. Grains Council’s Flickr site.

Kansas Corn Gets Firsthand Look at China Spring Crop Progress

Corn Tour Report


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