June 29, 2018 / 10:22 AM / 4 months ago

Rainfalls bring relief to parched corn fields in China's northeast

BEIJING (Reuters) - Recent rainfalls in China’s northeast region have provided relief to the parched fields after drought threatened to cut crop yields in one of the world’s top corn producers.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reduced its forecast for corn output in the 2018/19 crop year, down 2.9 percent on this year’s level, as drought has affected parts of the north-east corn belt region, according to a report the ministry released last month.

“The drought has relieved now with recent rainfalls,” said Yuan Pengbo, a corn farmer in Heilongjiang, the country’s top corn producer.

“It had been very dry in May after corn was planted. But it has been raining in the last 7-8 days,” Yuan said.

Low precipitation in early and mid May in parts of Jilin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia, have impeded planting and seedling of the spring crop, but heavy rainfalls in late May significantly improved the soil moisture and relieved the drought, according to a monthly report released by China’s National Meteorological Center.

Proper precipitation in the northeast in the past week also helped maintain soil moisture at proper levels, which helped the growth of corn, soybean and rice, the center said in a weekly report.

Corn is usually planted in China from April to late May. The northeast region including the four provinces produces nearly half of the country’s corn.

Weather forecasts show there will be more rainfalls in parts of the northeast in the coming week, further increasing soil moisture levels and facilitating spring crop growing, the meteorological center said.

“The drought topic is out of date now. Most of the corn fields are fine now,” said Zhang Dalong, analyst with COFCO Futures.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Vyas Mohan

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