China is advancing rapidly at adopting higher-yielding corn seed that has been enhanced with biotechnology traits. The adoption is so quick that China may no longer need to import corn within the next decade.
As China’s government has pushed for self-sufficiency, it has approved the use of more hybrid seed varieties and given more money to state farming institutions.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated China’s corn crop to reach a record 200 million tonnes this year.
“My view is that within seven to 10 years the gap in terms of demand and supply will probably be reduced to close to zero if the technology can reach the farmer,” Diego Diz, China corn marketing lead for Monsanto told Reuters.
Once China adopts higher-yielding hybrids and increases its yields, the country will no longer need to rely on imported corn to the extent that it does now. Future imports will be based on cheaper prices.
Diz told Reuters that better management of pests and weeds, which can cost up to a fifth of the crop is boosting yield gains in China. He also said teaching farmers not to harvest their corn too early could boost yields another seven to 10 percent.
“China’s corn farming practice is at a turning point,” Haiquan Zhang, chief China representative of Germany-based KWS SAAT AG told Reuters.
Syngenta’s head of corn marketing for Asia-Pacific said China’s yields will need to increase 50 percent to 60 percent to meet the demand in the country over the next 15 years.