China’s agriculture minister said the country is still expecting a bumper harvest of autumn grain despite drought and early frost in major growing areas in the northeast.
“The severe drought since August in parts of the northeast and south have affected grains production, but for the whole country, if there is no major weather disaster, we still expect the autumn grain harvest to be good,” said Sun Zhengcai.
Sun expected China’s corn output would hold steady or be slightly higher than normal years, but he did not provide details.
He said higher plant ing areas could offset drought damage. China has completed harvesting 24.6 per cent of corn and 24.5 per cent of soy areas. But the harvest has not begun in the country’s largest corn and soy area in the northeast.
Industry officials have said the drought damage could lead the country’s corn output to fall by as much as 12 million tonnes this year.
Soy output would also fall, particularly in the largest soy area of Heilongjiang, partly because of recent freeze damage.
“For late-mature soy crop in areas of Hailun and Beian, the freeze damage was more serious than that in the north and northwest, where crops have matured,” said Wang Chen, a trading manager with Nanhua Futures Co. Ltd. in Harbin, who visited some of the freeze-hit areas last week.
A farmer contacted by Reuters said the sharp temperature drop had killed some late-maturing soy crops near Qiqihar, where 20 per cent of the crop has not matured.