Rice production in China

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Rice fields in Tongshan County, Hubei
China Rice field with farmer.jpg

Rice production in China is an important part of the national economy.[1]

China is the world's largest producer of rice, and the crop makes up a little less than half of the country's total grain output. China accounts for 30% of all world rice production. In a given year total rice output came from four different crops. The early rice crop grows primarily in provinces along the Yangtze River and in provinces in the south; it is planted in February to April and harvested in June and July and contributes about 34 percent to total rice output.[1] Intermediate and single-crop late rice grows in the southwest and along the Yangtze; it is planted in March to June and harvested in October and November and also contributed about 34 percent to total rice output in the 1980s. Double-crop late rice, planted after the early crop is reaped, is harvested in October to November and adds about 25 percent to total rice production. Rice grown in the north is planted from April to June and harvested from September to October; it contributes about 7 percent to total production.[1] As the climate becomes warmer, it becomes possible for rice cultivation to advance farther north. [2]

All rice cultivation is highly labour intensive. Rice is generally grown as a wetland crop in fields flooded to supply water during the growing season.[1] Transplanting seedlings requires many hours of labor, as does harvesting. Mechanization of rice cultivation is only minimally advanced. Rice cultivation also demands more of other inputs, such as fertilizer, than most other crops.

Paddy field in south-western in Yunnan

Rice is highly prized by consumers as a food grain, especially in south China, and per capita consumption has risen through the years. Also, as incomes have risen, consumers have preferred to eat more rice and less potatoes, corn, sorghum, and millet. Large production increases in the early 1980s and poor local transportation systems combined to induce farmers to feed large quantities of lower quality rice to livestock.[1]

Rice variants[edit]

Wild rice[edit]

There are three types of wild rice variants in China, O. mereriana, O. officinalis and O. rufipogon. The latter being the most common wild variant, whose growth spans from from Taiwan and across all of China. Wild rice is commonly found in marshlands, hills and low grasslands. Archaeological records note common variants of wild rice were planted in central and southern China in antiquity. Due to increased human activity over the years, there has been a 70% decrease of O. rufipogon across China from the 1950's.[3]

Chinese cultivated[edit]

Rice breeding[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e "China: A Country Study:Crops". Library of Congress, Washington D.C. July 1987. Retrieved March 21, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Zhi-peng LI, Yu-qiao LONG, Peng-qin TANG, Jie-yang TAN, Zheng-guo LI, Wen-bin WU, Ya-nan HU, Peng YANG, Spatio-temporal changes in rice area at the northern limits of the rice cropping system in China from 1984 to 2013, Journal of Integrative Agriculture, Volume 16, Issue 2, February 2017, Pages 360-367.
  3. ^ He, Zhongu; Bonjean, Alain (2010). Cereals in China (PDF). CIMMYT. ISBN 978-970-648-177-1.