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Raising corn output is food for thought

Updated: 2014-01-07 07:37
By Huang Dafang ( China Daily)

New technologies, including breeding and growing technologies for transgenic crops, can be of help. The US' corn yield was about 400 kg per mu in the 1990s, but now it is more than 600 kg, a 50 percent rise in less than 20 years. The dramatic increase can be attributed to the popularization and application of commercial cultivation and planting of pest- and herbicide-resistant corn, including the application of advanced transgenic and hybrid technologies.

Argentina is another example to follow when it comes to increasing corn production. Because of its adherence to industrialized transgenic corn cultivation, Argentina has doubled its per-unit corn output over the past decade. The experiences of the US and Argentina testify that China, too, can promote industrialization of transgenic corn-growing technologies to meet its ever-growing demand for the crop.

The self-bred phytase transgenic corn technology - coupled with industrialized cultivation based on experimental planting and assessment of scientific attributes - can also help China boost its per-unit corn yield. Such types of corn can sharply lower phosphorus pollution and raise the ratio of feed nutrient utilization.

Besides, China's self-developed and pest- and herbicide-resistant transgenic corn is also expected to play a productive role in boosting its corn output, lowering pesticide pollution, protecting the environment and improving its farming techniques.

China has no option but to expedite efforts to develop its own corn technologies and promote industrialization if it does not want its domestic corn market to be dominated by international transgenic corn supplies.

The author is a senior researcher with the Biotechnology Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

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