Massive crop failure was reported in rice fields where strains developed by China’s “father of hybrid rice” Yuan Longping was cultivated, reported Southern Weekly on Thursday [9 April 2015]. Significant crop loss caused by rice blast, a deadly disease affecting cultivated rice, hit more than 10,000 mu (1 hectare equals 15 mu) of rice fields in six cities in Anhui province, a major rice producer in East China in the autumn harvest season last year. In Wuhe county, the yield of rice fields plummeted from 500 kilograms per mu to 50 kilograms per mu or even to none…Full Article: China Daily Apr 2015

Key Point

  • Packages of Chinese hybrid rice seed typically have the grade of disease resistance printed on the package. Some packages claim to have 5/6 grades, denoting a disease incidence rate of just 25%. However, inside the package a piece of paper shows that rice is grade 9, meaning that the rice can have a disease incidence rate as high as 100%.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In 2013, China had approved 96 varieties of super hybrid rice strains, with cultivation reportedly occurring on 4 million ha or roughly 24% of China’s rice paddy fields.
  • From 2006 to 2008, Chinese rice yields rose from 6.15 MTs per ha to 6.5 MTs, with hybrid rice being grown on 18.6 million ha or roughly 63% of China’s rice paddy fields (Hunan province growing the most).
  • Hybrid rice, or rice that has been crossbred to combine the superior traits from separate parents, was pioneered by China in the 1970s. Hybrid rice helped to sustain the country’s explosive population growth during that decade (833 million in 1970 to 1 billion in 1980).

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