FBA Issue 16: September / October 2007


China: Drought set to affect soy output


by Ann ZHANG



China's soybean output looks set to decline in 2007, after drought conditions continue to worsen in major soybean production regions.


In June, eastern Inner Mongolia and the western regions of Heilongjiang province started to experience dry weather conditions. In July, these regions were receiving 50 percent less rainfall compared with the same month in 2006.


By early August, some 4 million hectares, or 50 percent of Heilongjiang's cultivated area, had been hit by drought at varying degrees of severity. Of these, some 1.54 million hectares, or 20 percent of the province's cultivated land, was experiencing serious drought. Another 440,000 hectares of cropland had to be abandoned due to prolonged dryness.


In China, weather conditions from mid-July till August are particularly critical to soy maturation. During this pod filling stage, the soybean plant is most susceptible to drought injury. The damage caused by droughts include increased incidence of pod abortion as well as smaller and fewer seeds during the delayed crop maturation stages.


Based on eFeedLink's preliminary estimates, Heilongjiang's soybean production will likely decline by 10 percent in 2007 and China's total soybean production is forecast at 14.5 million tonnes.



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