Across China: Technology helps transform saline land into high-yield farmland

HOHHOT, Nov. 16– Chang Yingchun and his wife Liu Huanmei beamed with joy as they looked at their harvest while drying the corn kernels in their yard. The farmer couple from Horqin Left Wing Middle Banner in Tongliao City of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region harvested a total of 55,000 kg of corn from 60 mu of farmland this year and the average yield per…

HOHHOT, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) — Chang Yingchun and his wife Liu Huanmei beamed with joy as they looked at their harvest while drying the corn kernels in their yard.

The farmer couple from Horqin Left Wing Middle Banner in Tongliao City of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region harvested a total of 55,000 kg of corn from 60 mu (about four hectares) of farmland this year and the average yield per mu was 900 kg.

The region where they live had up to 1.9 million mu of widely distributed saline land which resulted in low fertility, hindered crop growth and decreased yields.

The average corn yield was less than 400 kg per mu and some plots with severe salinization had been left abandoned for a long time, resulting in low income for the locals.

Since 2020, the Horqin Left Wing Middle Banner has forged cooperation with sci-tech institutes to transform 20,000 mu of saline-alkali land into high-yield farmland. Consequently, 6,700 mu of land have been enhanced to date to produce an average yield of 870 kg per mu, up 500 kg from earlier.

Agricultural experts used desulfurized gypsum, superphosphate, microbial agent, organic fertilizer and fermented cow manure to adjust soil pH value, increase organic content and improve the permeability of the farmland.

Farmers no longer have to worry about mastering saline-alkali land improvement techniques, as experts frequently visit the village to explain and address relevant technical issues.

As of this year, 14 training sessions have been held during which the experts share their professional knowledge and rich experience with the local farmers, said Wang Wei, representative of the farmland improvement pilot demonstration project of Horqin Left Wing Middle Banner.

The traditional irrigation methods that were previously used were water-intensive and ineffective at enhancing soil quality, Chang said, adding that the innovative method of shallow drip irrigation helps conserve water resources and reduces salt and alkali deposition.

Horqin Left Wing Middle Banner is a major commodity grain production base for the country, mainly engaged in corn farming. The region’s grain output is expected to reach 3.2 billion kg this year, up 80 million kg from 2021.

China has about 1.55 billion mu of saline-alkali land, and experts believe that one-third or one-quarter of which can be transformed into arable land through sci-tech methods.

To deal with salinization, the country outlined the support to transform suitable saline land into arable land in an appropriate and orderly manner in its “No. 1 central document” released this year. Enditem

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