Machineries largely facilitate China’s spring ploughing

Gao Yuncai, By People’s Daily
Agricultural machineries are playing an increasingly important role in China’s farming activities as spring ploughing unfolded from February in the southern part of the country and moves up north till May.
More and more autopiloted tractors equipped with Beidou Navigation Satellite System, unmanned transplanters, agricultural drones, and smart greenhouses are playing their part in the planting of rice and corns, cotton sowing, farmland management and vegetable growing.
In Hegang village, Zhangjiaji township of Xiangyang in central China’s Hubei province, drones are applied to monitor the growing of wheats and the moisture content of the soil. And agricultural machineries are going through maintenance in Renfa village, Henan township, Keshan county, Heilongjiang province in northeast China as the soil there starts to thaw.
“Machineries are playing a bigger role in agricultural activities in spring, no matter in the plains in north China or the hilly and mountainous terrain in the south,” introduced Zhang Xingwang, director-general of the Department of Farm Mechanization, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA).
New equipment, with much easier operation, will greatly reduce labor stress and improve production efficiency of the spring ploughing, which saves costs and helps farmers grow crops in a more relaxed and scientific manner.
In response to the overdue service of agricultural equipment, China will offer subsidies to encourage farmers to scrap and replace aged machines, and guide local governments to accelerate efforts in updating farming tools, so as to ensure safe production and energy conservation, says a recent guideline jointly released by MARA, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce.
So far, a total of 140 million yuan (about $20.16 million) of central subsidies have been allocated to help replace nearly 40,000 sets of machines for over 26,000 households nationwide, outstripping the progress of last year. The subsidies have already been distributed to county-level administrations in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities of the country and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
MARA has also launched online services related to agricultural machinery. It pushes videos of machinery maintenance and operation to the farmers, introduces key equipment and technologies of full-mechanized production of grains and vegetables, offers guidelines on mechanized crop protection, farmland management, and rice transplanting, as well as teaches farmers to use drones in farming activities. These online services are helping farmers across the country ensure spring farming and material supplies amid the epidemic.
More than 20 million sets of agricultural equipment have been put into use for production this season across the country. At present, around 20,000 high-performance agricultural drones are now weeding winter rapes and winter wheat in Hubei province. Besides, 300,000 sets of soil preparation machines and 24,000 transplanters are expected to join the province’s agricultural activities before the end of this month to prepare for the upcoming peak or rice planting in April.
“Agricultural machines can stabilize output and guarantee the supply in farming activities, thus bolstering the high-quality development of the whole industry,” introduced Zhang.
Importance should be attached to both epidemic control and current agricultural activities, which not only leads to high efficiency of farming activities, but also contributes to high-quality economic and social development, he added.

A large farm sprayer is sprinkling herbicide in Liubao township, Wudi county, Shandong province in east China, March 5, 2020. (Photo by Chen Ziqing, People’s Daily Online)

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