Heilongjiang Using Advanced Technology To Grow Soybean Varieties

In Heilongjiang, new developments in seed breeding have moved from state-owned laboratories to neighbourhood businesses and from test tubes to fields.

Heilongjiang Using Advanced Technology To Grow Soybean Varieties

Heilongjiang has China’s largest soybean-producing region and is China’s main grain barn. In 2022, the province’s soybean production increased by 2.34 billion kilogrammes year over year to 9.53 billion kilogrammes, or 47 percent of the nation’s total. The province has embraced cutting-edge technology to cultivate generations of robust and durable soybean varieties.

In order to breed high-yielding bean seeds in a shorter amount of time, Li Yanhua and her team always travel over 4,000 km from the agroecological experiment station in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province to the country’s southernmost province of Hainan.

Li is an expert in soybean breeding and a researcher at the Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Li has selected and bred a total of 15 high-yielding soybean varieties, whose planting area accounts for about one-tenth of China’s soybean cultivation area, over the past 32 years.

Li developed the “Dongsheng” series of soybeans, which are high in protein and oil and resistant to lodging. These traits have increased yields by more than a billion kilogrammes and farmers’ incomes by more than 4 billion yuan (about 560 million U.S. dollars).

Han Zhimin, a resident of Changxing Village in Yilan County, Heilongjiang Province, benefited from Li’s labor. The professional cooperative for corn planting in Chengxin is directed by Han. His cooperative planted more than 8,000 mu (or 533.33 hectares) of soybeans in the previous year, and the yield could reach more than 3,975 kilogrammes per hectare, which would be a record high.

We advance plant four to five different soybean varieties in small trial plots each year to test their yield potential. “Thus, we can decide whether to plant them on a large scale,” Han said.

In Heilongjiang, new developments in seed breeding have moved from state-owned laboratories to neighbourhood businesses and from test tubes to fields.

With more than 2.49 million mu (roughly 166,000 hectares) of paddy fields and an annual output of 700 million kilogrammes of rice, Wuchang City is well known for its premium rice in China.

With the aid of cutting-edge technology, local businesses are working to revive a well-known rice variety and create new, stronger, and more productive varieties. A number of rice festivals have also been held in Heilongjiang to encourage the growth of the rice breeding sector.

The construction of 19 national breeding bases and 16 expert breeding demonstration bases for corn, soybeans, rice, and other crops will be accelerated thanks to funding of 300 million yuan secured by Heilongjiang Province in 2022 to support innovations in the seed industry.

With these initiatives, the province hopes to encourage the use of superior seed varieties and solidify the groundwork for the modernization of the seed business.

The only cold-land crop germplasm bank in China is owned by Heilongjiang. In order to protect China’s cold-land crop germplasm resources and maintain national food security, the province’s germplasm preservation capacity has increased from 80,000 to 200,000 samples as of 2022.

Heilongjiang, China’s largest grain storage facility, is a microcosm of the rapid development of the country’s seed industry. China has attached great importance to an independent seed industry to ensure food security.

The results of the national-level seed production counties and regional breeding bases were announced by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in April last year, bringing the total number of national-level seed production bases in China to 216, which cover the majority of the significant crops.

More than 5 billion yuan have been set aside by China to support seed production bases during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016–2020). They guarantee the security of the nation’s grain supply and provide over 70% of the seeds for crop production.

China will continue to implement reward policies for major seed-producing counties and carry out projects aimed at upgrading the seed industry while seeking to ensure that national seed production bases can supply over 80 percent of the seeds for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021–2025).