Hubei province trials strip planting to boost soybean output

The agricultural department of Hubei province in central China is initiating strip planting of soybean and corn for the first time in history as the central Chinese government has pledged to boost the country’s total strip planting area.

Farmers in Hubei province will use 300,000 mu (20,000 hectares) of its total arable land to test strip planting of the two crops.

“Soybean-corn strip planting is an innovation of traditional intercropping technique which adds an additional crop of soybeans without a drop in corn production,” said local state-backed media Hubei Daily.

China is looking to implement strip planting of soybeans and corn on 5 million mu (333,000 hectares) of arable land across the country to meet the goal of self-sufficiency and food security.

The majority of strip planting areas are in the main producing region of Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in northeastern China.

Hubei province accounts for just 6% of the total strip planting areas in China.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government is offering higher subsidies to farmers who plant soybeans than to those who plant corn in a bid to further boost the country’s domestic output after it hit a new record high of more than 20 million tons last year.

China is also looking to start planting GMO corn crops in China to increase the average crop yield so that total corn production can be ensured even if the planting area shrinks due to more soybean planting.