Drones spray a mixture of pesticide and plant growth regulators to boost the yield at a wheat field in Zaozhuang, Shandong province, this month. (SUN ZHONGZHE/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Measures to protect crops from diseases caused by pests and bad weather are being taken across major winter wheat production areas in China, in a bid to consolidate the foundation for a summer harvest in less than one month.
Growing conditions for winter wheat surveyed by agricultural authorities in Henan and Shandong provinces, two major winter wheat production areas, show the crops are now growing better than expected.
The 5.67 million hectares of winter wheat in Henan have entered the final growth period, and the growing conditions are better than expected, according to the latest statistics released by the Henan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
In Shandong, which neighbors Henan, the area of winter wheat has reached 4 million hectares, 8,000 hectares more than last year, according to Shandong Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
"The top two grades of wheat crops account for 84 percent, laying a good foundation for a summer harvest," said Chu Ruiyun, deputy head of the department.
China has made great efforts to ensure winter wheat since early February, as more than 7 million hectares of the crop were planted late due to flooding in October in five major winter wheat production provinces.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has launched campaigns to survey the seedling growth of each county, and has dispatched 100 officials and 200 technicians nationwide to instruct field management to grow weak seedlings into strong ones.
The supply of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides is also basically guaranteed, despite disruptions caused by COVID-19 outbreaks.
"Currently, we are guiding work on spraying pesticides to protect the wheat against some diseases that frequently occur during the later growing stage," said Chu, adding that Shandong has allocated 600 million yuan ($89 million) to subsidize the work.
Tian Haiqi, a farmer in the village of Pingfang in Jinan, Shandong, expects a harvest in around 20 days.
"Although we planted wheat late due to flooding last year, the temperature has been nice in recent months and we have had adequate sunlight, which is good for the wheat crops to grow," Tian told China Daily on Friday.
"The rain in the previous two days is good for the wheat, but we are also enhancing field management in case of diseases caused by wet environments," he said.