Harbin modern agriculture leads grain production ahead

Keyword: Agriculture
Publish time: 20th November, 2014      Source: Xinhua News Agency
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According to the agriculture committee in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, the total grain output of Harbin will surpass 17.5 billion kilograms this year, increasing for the eleventh time in a row and setting a new record in Harbin in terms of total grain output.


In October the golden rice and full barns contributed to the 17.5 billion kilograms of crops harvested this year. Which means three or four kilograms out of every 100 kilograms of grain in the whole country are produced in Harbin. The fast-growing grain output is a reflection of just some of the achievements Harbin has made in modern agriculture.


Large-scale modern plantation


In early spring, Shuangcheng district in Harbin unified 5,000 mu (333.33 hectare) of individual farmer fields in Qingcheng village. The fields were then leased to Atider Modern Agricultural Development Co, a Mexican corn production and plantation enterprise, to establish a high-yield plantation.


Soil on the plantation has been tilled as deep as 60 cm, 30 cm deeper than that in local practice. Trace elements in soil are tested before seeds are planted and the space between plants is only 20 cm, much smaller than that in traditional practice. As a result, by summer, plants in the corn field were as thick as spider webs, they continued growing and reached more than 3 meters tall.


According to the preliminary estimate made by agricultural professionals in Harbin; before the harvest season the highest grain output per mu will surpass the benchmark of 1,000 kilograms. More than 300 kilograms higher than that of an average field. If the final output is verified, it will break the record of corn output in the Heilongjiang province.


"Traditional farming of household-based tillage and plantation is characterized by poor efficiency, low technology, and low output. Through various means, we have been promoting large-scale plantation with high technology.' said Yang Wenyue, director of Harbin agricultural committee.


Over the past two years, nearly 2.3 billion yuan ($ 375.63 million) has been invested in the agricultural sector in Harbin. The standards; speed and scale of agricultural plantations have all been substantially upgraded.


According to the planning of the agriculture committee, by next year agricultural plantations in Harbin will be guided by leading national and advanced international standards. The expansion of high-yield plantation approach will increase an average output of 300 kilograms per mu. The application of organic and green cultivation methods in rice paddy plantations will enable an economic benefit of more than 2,000 yuan per mu; up 1,000 yuan from traditional modes.


Diversified operators


Yao Hongliang, a villager from Taihe village, Yanshou county, finished harvesting rice in his organic rice plantation and laid plastic film in his rice paddy fields. He found a unique way of rice cultivation for the next season.


"Before planting rice seedlings in early spring, the rice paddy fields are covered with plastic film through which the rice seedlings can be planted on,' said Yao, who has been awarded three national patents because of this innovative plantation method. A few years ago, he gathered thousands of mu of fields from his fellow villagers and applied his cultivation method on a large scale basis, which contributed to an increase of yield per mu; ranging from 25 to 50 kilograms.

Experts from Northeast Agricultural University pointed out that the key to producing organic rice is to keep the weeds at bay; the "organic cultivation method of using plastic film mulch' not only stops the weeds from growing but also provides good temperature for the rice plants. That's why the production of organic rice can be increased in Yao's fields.


Innovative agricultural operators, like Yao, are the main driving force in promoting the structural transformation and upgrading of the agricultural sector. Over the past two years, innovative agricultural operators in Harbin have been supported in various way; both in capital terms and policy terms. For example, 190 million yuan has been invested in the establishment of agricultural machinery cooperatives.


The modern agricultural techniques in Harbin have contributed to the emergence of various new agricultural operators. At the moment, there are 3,814 major specialized farming households, 1,808 family farms, 5,706 farmers' professional cooperatives and 248 agricultural enterprises above designated size in Harbin. In other words; on average, the whole city has 6 new business operators per village.


The organic rice plantation base has 20,000 mu of fields in Weiguo Township; owned by the Orient Group, the Intelligence Center of Rice Cultivation in this area the international standards have been applied.


In this center, various sensors are placed in the fields to form a monitoring network which collects real-time information on plant diseases, insect, pests, and water levels of the fields.


Irrigation of the fields, application of fertilizer, and the administration of pesticides in the cultivation and planting process no longer depends on traditional experience. It can be executed with accuracy from information collected from the intelligent monitoring system.


Thus, the way of growing crops in the field has been fundamentally changed. The traditional agricultural practice centered on human power and heavily relied on household machineries is being replaced by science and technology and supplemented by human power.


Intelligent and technology-based planting is the trend for future modern agricultural development. In the future, the quality and output of agricultural production will be further improved and planting costs can be cut down essentially.


All-round service in fields


Like countries in Europe and America; where farmers can solve problems in financing, planting, weeding and harvesting by paying service fees to specialized corporations and organizations; farmers in Harbin are following these international trends.


"To make sure farmers can get all services they need in growing crops, a socialized service system is being comprehensively promoted by appointing leaders at the municipal level to take full responsibility of county level fields and their leaders," said Xiong Baijian, deputy director of the Harbin agriculture committee.


Wang Hongxiang, a farmer in Fangzheng county who owned 80 mu of paddy fields, used to be busy preparing seedlings with family members for more than 10 days in the seeding and planting season in early spring. Over the past two years, he and his fellow villagers have completely skipped the process of seedling raising because of the services available from specialized companies in intelligent seedling raising.


Seedlings from these specialized companies can save farmers much effort by not having to cultivate seedlings of their own. The yield of rice per mu can be increased by more than 10 percent on average. Rice seedling raising factories have adopted seed soaking and germination acceleration methods. The additional increased yields means considerable income for farmers.


Calculated at the current purchasing price of three yuan per kilogram, Wang can make more than 15,000 yuan by selling the increased volume of grain in his 80 mu of fields. Of all the 9 million mu of rice fields in Harbin, 6.5 million mu of them are planted with seedlings grown by specialized companies using the intelligent method of seed soaking and germination acceleration.


In early spring this year, Wang Yuliang received 150 mu of fields to till, but he felt the pinch for seedlings. However, he got a loan of 60,000 yuan in short order without going to either a bank or a credit cooperative. "All of us directly go to the Xinzhuang Peasants' Professional Cooperative for loans. The procedure is quite straightforward and the interest rate is only two-third of that of loans provided by a commercial bank,' Wang said.


After the good harvest, Wang Yuliang, a farmer from Xinzhuang village, Wuchang county, was thinking about paying back the loan.

"The Xinzhuang Cooperative provides villagers with loans in the form of mutual aid. Usually, villagers get the loan in spring and pay back the loan in fall,' said Xiong Baijian. Such "banks at the doorstep' have become a unique innovation to the agricultural financial service system at the grassroots level in Harbin.


In March this year, Harbin invested 60 million yuan in establishing the first platform over which guaranteed financing services can be provided for businesses or individuals in farming and animal husbandry.


In the first six months, 138 million yuan of loans were provided to 12 farming businesses or animal husbandry businesses and peasant's professional cooperatives.


Agricultural business operators used to find difficulty in securing loans because they could not find guarantors; they had to pay hefty interests, and they had to go through a very complicated process. But now, getting a loan is not a problem anymore.


Many agriculture-oriented services have sprung up. Many farmers had to sell most of their grain after harvest because they did not have the barns to store. Now they can use the storage service which enables them to sell the grain when the grain price goes up.


Farming machinery cooperatives have mushroomed and quite a few of such cooperatives provide services including tilling, seeding, planting, and harvesting.


According to the Harbin agriculture committee, Harbin will push forward relevant operators to form an agricultural aircraft corporation to provide specialized service of spraying insecticides on a reservation basis for large-scale plantations.


In recent years, Harbin has made great efforts to promote the establishment of modern plantation demonstrative zones; spared no efforts to support various new agricultural business operators; strived for an agriculture-oriented socialized service system. Thus, a unique pathway towards modern agricultural development has framed itself up in Harbin.