Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tong Pingya: foreign varieties dominate corn planting in Guangxi

Since the introduction at the beginning of the 21st Century, the corn varieties bred by multinational corporations have witnessed the expansion of their cultivation area in Guangxi. The expansion has bettered the situation of low corn yield in the region, which resulted mainly from the long-term promotion of inbred-variety cross hybrid or single-cross hybrid. For example, Zhengda varieties bred by Chia Tai-Agri Co., Ltd. and DK varieties bred by Monsanto have the greatest influence, already occupying a total of over 70% of the corn acreage in Guangxi.

Zhengda619 variety has been a hot-sale product in Guangxi for over 10 years. The variety was bred by Chia Tai-Agri Co., Ltd. (Chia Tai-Agri), wholly owned by Thailand Chia Tai Group, released in Guangxi in 2000. With high germination rate, excellent grain quality and superior plant type, Zhengda619 has enjoyed recognistion among the local farmers. From 2001 to 2010 the accumulative acreage of Zhengda619 reached 1.33 milllion ha. (20 million mu). The annual planting area of Zhengda619 once highly hit 0.20 million ha. (3.02 million mu), occupying about 1/3 of the total corn acreage in Guangxi.

Under the situation of prevailing homogenization in the domestic corn seed market, Chia Tai-Agri has gradually expanded its market share and maintained stable customers, with its "personalized" variety breeding and "differentiated" marketing services. The company has taken the lead in such processes as the finishing processing of corn seeds, fully seed coating, small product package and the singe-grain sowing of corn, rapidly seizing the market. Following Zhengda619, a number of subsequent corn varieties have been developed by Chia Tai-Agri, such as Zhengda818, Zhengda819, Zhengda999, etc.

The planting area of DK varieties developed by Monsanto has been on the increase year by year in Guangxi. CNSGC-DEKALB Seed Co., Ltd. (CNSGC-DEKALB), the joint venture of China National Seed Group Co., Ltd. (CNSGC) and Monsanto established in 2001, has been committed to the promotion of DK varieties in China, like DK007 and DK008.

With drought resistance, barren tolerance, high grain yield and quality, DK007 has been planted in Guangxi with accumulative acreage of approximately 0.67 million ha. (10 million mu) as of 2010 since it was first released in 2003. The variety has played an important role in stabilizing grain production and guaranteeing farmers' income, especially in Dashi mountainous areas of Guangxi.

DK008, another corn hybrid developed by Monsanto and released in Guangxi in 2008, has outstanding advantages including high & stable yield, stress tolerance and disease resistance, with some characteristics like uniform corn ear, moderate corn bract, hard grain, tolerance to drought, etc. In 2010, CNSGC-DEKALB launched "Soar Program of DK Corn", hold 600 times of yield exhibitions of DK008 in 580 villages of 32 counties. Farmers who planted DK008 of the highest yield measured by threshing, could obtain USD162 (RMB1,000) of reward from CNSGC-DEKALB.

Apart from DK007 and DK008, some other DK varieties have been also released in Guangxi, such as DK656, DK683, DK743, etc.

Located in the subtropical monsoon climate zone, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (Guangxi) is a major domestic corn planting region, nearly throughout which corn is planted all the year round. The planting of sweet corn in Guangxi has seen rapid development and the development potential of winter corn is great enough to help enhance the corn production in Guangxi. In the meantime, however, foreign varieties have a dominant position in the corn planting of Guangxi. And corn planting should be strengthened in Guangxi, mainly due to the conflict over land between corn and sugarcane.

Corn is a key grain crop in Guangxi
Corn is the second major grain crop grown in Guangxi only next to rice. Corn planting is widely distributed in Guangxi nearly covering the whole region, while 80% of the corn acreage is concentrated in four cities, namely Hechi, Baise, Liuzhou and Nanning. Since the beginning of the 21st century the total corn acreage in Guangxi has ranged between 0.50 million ha. (7.50 million mu) and 0.53 million ha. (8.00 million mu), accounting for around 15% of the total grain crops acreage in the region. In 2010, nearly 0.54 million ha. (8.08 million mu) of corn was planted in Guangxi with a total output reaching 2.09 million tonnes.

Corn is a main grain ration in Guangxi where multiple minorities are concentrated. The residents who love eating corn or corn processing food reach a total of about 10 million, accounting for nearly 20% of the total population of Guangxi. Besides, 70% to 80% of corn is for eating while the remaining is mainly used for feed. In general, flint or semi-flint, good taste and storage-resistant corn is quite popular among the local residents.

Fresh corn planting has seen a rapid growth in Guangxi, especially in the southern part where the natural condition is more favorable for corn planting in multiple seasons. Over the recent few years the total acreage of fresh corn has reached approximately 23,333 ha. (0.35 million mu) in the region, roughly comprised by 60% sweet corn, 20% waxy corn and 20% sweet-waxy corn.

Despite the increase in the planting area and output of corn in Guangxi, there is still a great undersupply of corn. Each year about 2 million tonnes of corn is transported to Guangxi from other regions for local consumption.

Guangxi is suitable for corn planting all the year round
Guangxi, surrounded by mountains, has a complex terrain and diverse climate. Corn can be planted in Guangxi all the year round. Spring corn occupies the largest proportion of corn planting, followed by summer and autumn ones. And winter corn acreage is relatively small. Generally, intercropping with beans and potatoes is the major pattern of corn planting in Guangxi. In addition, the planting of corn in Guangxi is usually followed by the planting of medium rice or late rice, or the continuous cropping of corn in late season.

According to the annual planting times corn planting in Guangxi can be divided into three areas, namely single-cropping zone in the northeast and northwest, double-cropping zone in the center and south, triple-cropping zone in the coastal areas. Comparatively speaking, double-cropping zone is the most important in Guangxi; with abundant light, heat and water resources the double-cropping zone is a major cultivation area of winter corn in China

Corn planting should be strengthened in Guangxi
The development of the livestock industry gives rise to the increasing demand for corn in Guangxi. As China's largest sugarcane growing region, however, Guangxi occupies around 58% of the domestic sucrose production. Meanwhile, the conflict over land between corn and sugarcane has been increasingly intense in Guangxi. It is expected that Guangxi should guarantee and stabilize the planting area of corn, focus on corn yield improvement and develop corn processing business. The following is the suggestions for the development of the corn industry in Guangxi.

1. Stabilize the corn planting area and properly handle the conflicts between corn and sugarcane
The planting area of corn in Guangxi should be kept to around 0.53 million ha. (8.00 million mu), comprised by 0.37 million ha. (5.50 million mu) of spring & summer corn, 0.13 million ha. (2.00 million ) of autumn corn and 0.03 million ha. (0.50 million mu) of winter corn. It is crucial and feasible to gradually expand winter corn in Guangxi; the acreage of the exploitable area for winter corn can reach approximately 0.12 million ha. (1.80 million mu)

2. Improve the planting conditions and increase the material inputs
Some measures should be taken with great efforts, such as the construction of water conservancy facilities, roots in soil improvement, additions of fertilizer, etc. The intercrop area of corn should be further expanded to increase the corn output. Besides, film cultivation and seedling transplanting techniques should be promoted in Guangxi.

3. Promote excellent corn hybrids
Excellent corn hybrids of strong adaptability (tolerance to high temperature, high humidity or drought) and disease resistance (leaf blight, gray leaf spot, sheath blight, bacterial wilt, etc.) are greatly required in Guangxi. Differentiated corn hybrids are also on demand in different areas of Guangxi, mainly due to various cultivation habits. For example, corn hybrids with hard grain and disease resistance that are suitable for thin planting, are popular in alpine mountains, while low-density or medium-density planting corn hybrids with medium-hard grain are widely planted in hilly areas.

4. Attach importance to the processing of fresh corn
The great potential and huge business opportunity in the development of fresh corn in Guangxi requires that high-quality varieties suitable for processing should be bred. Besides, deep processing of fresh corn should be developed to extend the industrial chain of fresh corn, and to ensure the diversification of the industrial chain.

The news sourced from Seed China News released by CCM in June.

Table of Contents of Seed China News 1306:
Subsidies on improved crop seed varieties in 2013 similar with 2012
Corn varieties from seed multinationals grab large market share in China
Market share of pink tomato will increase
GM corn seeds from the US uncovered in Harbin
Longping High-tech suffers sharp drop in net profit excluding irregular gains in 2012
Hefei Fengle reports sound performance in 2012
Wanxiang Doneed attains lackluster performance in 2012
Gansu Dunhuang suffer huge losses in 2012
Shandong: alfalfa planting increasing in saline land
China's rapeseed cultivation and harvesting entering mechanization era
Hybrid rice molecular breeding platform to be founded by seed companies

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