Running from 2005 to 2015, the project first assessed how factors including irrigation, plant density and sowing depth affected agricultural productivity. It used the information to guide and spread best practice across several regions: for example, recommending that rice in southern China be sown in 20 holes densely packed in a square metre, rather than the much lower densities farmers were accustomed to using.I am convinced that very few of the ways we do things are truly optimal, from sowing rice to timing traffic lights, and I look forward to many more similar efforts.
The results speak for themselves: maize (corn), rice and wheat output grew by some 11% over that decade, whereas the use of damaging and expensive fertilizers decreased by between 15% and 18%, depending on the crop. Farmers spent less money on their land and earned more from it — and they continue to do so.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Chinese Farming and Incremental Science
What the world needs right now, I think, is not so much grand scientific breakthroughs is more effort devoted to making minor improvements in ordinary things. Like this major government agricultural effort in China: