September 24, 2014
New technology likely to cut China's soy imports
New agricultural technology has allowed farmers in China's largest soy producing region to boost yields and cut dependence on foreign growers.
Adapting a fertilization method used in the US, Brazil and Argentina, farmers in northeast Heilongjiang Province have increased annual yields by 8% on average this year, Wang Guoliang, head of the provincial fertilizer management station, said on Sunday.
With Wang's help,more than 300,000 hectares of farmland in the province has been treated this year using rhizobium inoculant technology, an environmentally friendly alternative to nitrogen fertilizer.
Zhou Zeyu, an official with the National Agricultural Technology Extension Service Center (NATESC), said rhizobium inoculant technology is widely used in major soybean-producing countries but so far only 6% of the growing areas in China has adopted it.
Rhizobium is a bacteria found in soil that works naturally with certain species of plants to better nitrogen intake, normally a process reserved for nitrogen fertilizers such as carbamide, said Pang Jingping, general manager of the Hualong Biotechnology Company, a major rhizobium supplier in the province.
Wider use of the technology would further increase China's soy yield,said Li Jun, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Soy is China's primary grain import, which rose 8.6% year-on to reach 63.4 million tonnes in 2013.