China's Corn Belt gets cold, wet
China's major corn producing areas are suffering from colder-than-usual spring weather and waterlogging due to excessive snow and rain in winter, delaying sowing and increasing the costs of production, the Ministry of Agriculture said Wednesday.
Corn is China's largest crop in terms of output and any decline in domestic production may send global prices higher, as the country has become more active than before in the global grain market.
Last year, China produced 208.12 million tons of corn, up 8% on year. It imported 5.21 million tons of the animal feed, an increase of 197% on year, government data showed. China is the world's second largest corn producer and consumer.
Due to excessive rain and snow since October last year, about 143 million mu, or 9.5 million hectares, of farmland in northeastern China's province of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region saw excessive soil moisture, the ministry said in a statement.
Corn output in the four areas accounts for about 40% of the nation's total.
Meanwhile, the average temperature in the past four months was about 2.6 degrees centigrade lower than usual, reaching the lowest level since 2002, the ministry said.
The crop season has been delayed by about 7-10 days, the ministry said, adding spring sowing may face risks of poor quality, the statement said, without specifying how much output will be affected.
Farmers in northeastern China may cut the acreage of corn this year, due to low prices and increased production costs, analysts said.
Corn acreage nationwide may rise 1.22% this year, the agricultural ministry said Tuesday.
Write to Zhoudong Shangguan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 10, 2013 05:21 ET (09:21 GMT)