Monday, June 6, 2011

Soybeans Lose Ground in Heilongjiang

According to the report from a China Grain Net crop tour, Heilongjiang's crop area is undergoing a big adjustment this year. Soybean area is said to be down 25 percent this year, but area is up for all other major crops.

Total grain planted area is expected to reach 204.46 million mu, up 1.3 million mu from last year.

Corn: 84.14 million mu, up 5.67 million mu (up 7.2%)
Rice: 48.51 million mu, up 3.89 million mu (up 8.7%)
Wheat: 6.02 million mu, up .35 million mu (up 6.4%)
Potatoes: 4.86 million mu, up 1.26 million mu (up 35%)

The article attributes the change to prices of different commodities rising to differing degrees. While grains bring relatively low profits, farmers are accustomed to planting grain [so they keep doing it by inertia].

Spring planting was done early this year. After harvest last year, 126 million mu of the province's land underwent some kind of soil preparation, including 63 million mu of sub-soil preparation. This is part of a government campaign to raise productivity.

Production costs are estimated to be up by 20%. The largest increases are in land rent and labor. State-owned farms have higher costs than individual farmers. Due to lack of labor, some farmers are planting rice directly in the fields instead of transplanting them.

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